Over 153,000 households received COVID-19 cash grant to date

Distribution of the Covid-19 cash grant in Region Four
Distribution of the Covid-19 cash grant in Region Four

More than 153,000 households across Guyana have so far benefited from the Government’s $25,000 per household COVID-19 relief cash grant initiative, the National Assembly heard on Monday.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud revealed this figure while presenting on the supplementary request for $2.5 billion to continue the initiative. The National Assembly passed the Government’s proposed $17.4 billion Supplementary Budget to offset expenses between January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Minister Persaud said nine regions are almost completed and distribution is ongoing in Region Four with communities along the East Coast Demerara, East Bank of Demerara and in Greater Georgetown currently benefiting.

“This allocation is to facilitate the current process in Region Four, which will not include the ‘pink’ slips because we are still in the process of doing the first phase in Region Four…It was the primary household that was included in the first phase. Even if it’s a home and they have three other households, they should receive the ‘pink’ slips and they will be captured in the second phase,” Minister Persaud was quoted by DPI as saying.

To date, 8,124 households in Region One received their cash grants; Region Two, 13, 675 in Region Two; 44, 097 in Region Three; 20, 856 in Region Five; 35,009 in Region Six; 7,052 in Region Seven; 3,064 in Region Eight; 7,503 in Region Nine and 30,996 in Region Ten. Additionally, some 16,075 pink slips/query forms have been filled out.

The Minister said physical verification is ongoing in Region Four, while the second phase, which involves the ‘pink slips’ is ongoing in the other regions. Staff are also visiting homes that may have been missed during the first phase of distribution.

Dr. Persaud further explained that due to the absence of accurate data, the Government had to rely on the Regional Democratic Council and the Neighbourhood Democratic Council to do physical verification of these households.

Minister Persaud said the distribution is serving its purpose, alleviating much hardships in households that are struggling.

Even former President David Granger lauded the initiative, she added.  The Minister told the National Assembly that an audit of the process would be conducted.

In the first instance, $4.5 billion was allocated for the grant under the Ministry’s Old Age Pension and Public Assistance programme. With the approval of the $2.5 billion on Monday, the Government would be paying out $7 billion to households countrywide.