Over $7B distributed in 1st phase of COVID-19 cash grant initiative

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As government prepares to roll out phase two of its COVID-19 Cash Grant initiative, Local Government and Regional Development Minister, Nigel Dharamlall related that a whopping $7 billion was already distributed in the first phase.

The first phase of the $25,000 per household cash grant distribution began on September 29, 2020. The grant seeks to stimulate the economy by increasing people’s spending power amid the pandemic.

During an interview with this publication on Wednesday, Minister Dharamlall explained that the first phase of the distribution is completed, and he is pleased with the manner in which the initiative was conducted.

“I think the first phase went exceedingly well despite a few challenges, but those challenges were not insurmountable… we have been able to distribute around $7B to the population, across all 10 Regions. The most massive being Region Four…we are at the point of doing the second phase which is to fulfil the pink form… the second phase to fulfil the pink form has begun.”

Resources have already been sent to some regions to begin the second phase of the distribution.

“We are expecting it to be completed in a matter of weeks…”, the Minister added.

Dharamlall alluded that in Region Four alone, they will have to distribute grants to some 12,000 households.

“It is our intension for every household to have it. We have had some complaints where during the first phase some householders were not able to fill out a pink form, but I hope that during this phase, it will be addressed.”

He added “We have been able to have a seamless audit, and all the regions were able to account for all of the packages that were distributed and that is why we are now able to get into the second phase of dealing with those secondary households”.

Minister Dharamlall further underscored that his Ministry did receive complaints via its hotline, that persons did not receive the cash grant in certain areas. Those callers, he stated alleged that they were ignored due to their political affiliations.

“I don’t have any reports that persons did not receive the resources because of their Political affiliation… we have had cases of some residents calling and we got the clerks to go into the areas… now that we have this second phase, whoever was missed in the first phase would be provided with the cash grant”, he explained.

The Minister said they [the Government] are not operating on the principles of discrimination, because it is alien to the Government and more so, for the people of Guyana.

The second phase, the Minister said, will cost about $1 billion, with over 16,000 pink slips to be looked into and verified. The pink slips were given to persons who did not reach their cash grants in the first phase for some reason or the other. It was for the second phase of the programme that seeks to bring relief to the simple man and woman and to every household in Guyana.