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Free financial planning advice during pandemic

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LONDON, ONT. —
Brian Hilt felt he had to do something, as he watched Canada’s economy falter in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

So, he joined a group of 14 independent financial planners across Canada, offering free financial advice and assistance during these troubled times.

“This is our expertise. It’s a way to give back, during a time when Canada needs people to,” says Hilt, a financial planner based in Wingham.

As the owner of Seed and Harvest Wealth Counsel, he’s seen the his investments and those of his clients take a beating over the past two weeks. He can’t change that, but he can offer his advice and help navigating the numerous government programs being offered up to Canadian businesses and residents.

The pro-bono program just started last week, and already Hilt is helping a New Brunswick business owner.

“He’s a small business owner who’s looking for help to get through the next three months. I’m researching the programs that could him. We may not have all the answers, but hopefully we can help some people,” he says.

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Reviews Progress Of COVID-19 Measures

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Nirmala Sitharaman Reviews Progress Of Atmanirbhar Bharat Initiatives

The government on Sunday released a progress report on the implementation of measures announced under its Atmanirbhar Bharat package after a review by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. In May, the government had announced fiscal and monetary support worth Rs 21 lakh crore to help the country battle the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The finance and corporate ministries immediately started implementation of the announcements related to the economic package under the Atmanirbhar Bharat series of initiatives, an official release said.

Here are some of the key points on the progress reported so far: 

In a major relief to micro, small and medium enterprises, the Department of Expenditure has amended rules relating to global tenders, to ensure no global tender inquiry will be invited for tenders up to Rs 200 crore unless prior approval is obtained from Cabinet Secretariat. The government had earlier announced that global tenders will be disallowed in government procurement tenders up to Rs 200 crore.

In relief to contractors, various departments and ministries are implementing instructions to ensure central agencies like Railways, Road Transport and Highways and CPWD give an extension of up to six months for completion of contractual obligations.

The department issued a communication to all state governments for additional borrowing of 2 per cent (of projected gross state domestic product in 2020-21) subject to implementation of specific state-level reforms. The government had earlier announced its decision to increase borrowing limits of states from 3 per cent to 5 per cent for 2020-21 in view of the situation caused by the COVID-19 disease. The move will provide the states with extra resources worth Rs 4.28 lakh crore.

In a period of about one and half months, noticeable progress has been achieved in identifying units, sanctioning as well as disbursing of loans to MSMEs. The government had announced collateral-free automatic loans worth Rs 3 lakh crore for businesses and MSMEs.

Rs 45,000 crore Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0 for NBFCs

Banks have approved purchase of portfolio of Rs 14,000 crore and are currently in process of approval/negotiations for Rs 6,000 crore as on July 3.

Additional Emergency Working Capital Funding for farmers through NABARD

When kharif sowing is already on its full swing, Rs. 24,876.87 crore out of Rs. 30,000 crore has been disbursed as on July 6 out of this special facility.

Between April 8 and June 30, the Central Board of Direct taxes (CBDT) has issued refunds in more than 20.44 lakh cases amounting to more than Rs. 62,361 crore, and the remaining refunds are under process.

The Rs 30,000-crore Special Liquidity Scheme for non-banking financial companies, housing finance companies and microfinance institutions has been launched, following the Cabinet’s approval. The first application in this regard has received its approval and the remaining are also being considered, the government said.

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West Kelowna way behind in tax revenue collection – West Kelowna News

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City tax hole $11.5M

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a detrimental affect on businesses and residents across West Kelowna.

That is no more evident than the value of municipal taxes remitted by business and residential taxpayers by the July 2 deadline.

In a report for council, director of finance Warren Everton says in 2019, about 92 per cent of taxes were paid by the July deadline. Penalties would kick in if monies were not paid by then.

However, due to the pandemic, city council has eased off on penalties and taken other steps to ease the financial burden of taxpayers.

As a result of financial hardships endured, Everton says only 80 per cent of overall taxation has been paid to the municipality, leaving an $11.5 million shortfall.

Ten per cent penalties won’t kick in until Oct. 1.

Everton says there is presently a $9.36 million (81 per cent) shortfall in residential tax payments and $2.2 million (72 per cent) deficit in collection from business and other categories.

Despite the shortfall, Everton writes in his report the city remains on”solid financial ground” despite COVID-19.

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I won’t quit: Lebanese PM defiant as his critics blast financial chaos

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BEIRUT: Beleaguered Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab on Saturday defied a barrage of criticism to declare that his government alone ruled Lebanon and it was determined to implement reforms to resolve the financial crisis.

Diab dismissed as “fake news” reports that he was on the verge of resignation, and said: “Lebanon will not be under anyone’s control as long as I am in power.”

The prime minister spoke after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet warned that Lebanon was enduring “the worst economic crisis in its history” and was “fast spiraling out of control.” 

She urged Diab’s government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to “the people’s essential needs, such as food, electricity, health, and education.”

Diab also faced harsh criticism from the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he was vice president and a professor before becoming prime minister.

BACKGROUND

UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet urged the Lebanese government to initiate urgent reforms and respond to ‘the people’s essential needs, such as food, health and education.’

AUB president Fadlo Khuri said Diab’s government was the worst in Lebanon’s history in its understanding of higher education.

“I have not seen any shred of competence in this government since its formation six months ago,” said.

“The government owes the AUB $150 million in medical bills,” Khuri said, and he urged Diab to “at least discuss with us a payment timeline.”

Lebanon’s financial plight is illustrated by its currency, the lira, which has lost 80 percent of its value. 

The black market  dollar exchange rate on Saturday was 7,500, compared with the official rate of 1,507.

Bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund were suspended in a dispute over government debt, but Diab insisted on Saturday: “We have turned the page … and started discussing the basic reforms required and the program that the IMF and Lebanon will agree upon, which will restore confidence and open the door to many projects.”

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