More than 5,000 people lost jobs between March-August – Teixeira
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira has said that more than 5,000 people in Guyana lost their jobs between March and August of this year as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic which forced the closure of the economy.
Minister Teixeira was quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI), during her address to residents of Mahaica Creek, Mahaica-Berbice (Region Five) on Friday last.
According to DPI, Minister Teixeira said that the $4.5 billion set aside by the government for COVID-19 relief cash grant distribution is finding its way back into the economy.
“Every time a person gets money, they will spend it. Instead of giving the business community the money, we give the people the money. The people decide how to spend it and that money circulates in the economy, it allows the spending power of the people to be improved, business people to open up and buy more and rehire workers sent off because of Covid,” she was quoted as saying.
The government started the distribution of the $25,000 per family cash grant back in September, to assist people adversely affected by the pandemic.
Measures instituted by the government in March to curb the spread of the deadly disease, which has so far claimed 139 lives, resulted in the closure of schools, bars, restaurants, the international airports, and businesses, which were deemed non-essential. The airports only reopened its doors on October 12 to commercial flights.
According to DPI, while many countries around the world have provided support to their citizens, Guyana is among the few, especially within the Caribbean region, to offer financial assistance.
“We have finished 99 per cent in Region Seven, all the mountainous and riverine areas. We have finished Region Nine and Region One and Eight so, we are moving on to the coast now, with Region Three and Region Five,” the Minister said.
Minister Teixeira explained that the government started the exercise in the interior regions, since its vastness adds to the challenges there. There are instances, she said, where the closest shop is miles away.
“And so, the money is to be used by you for what it can help you out with, and we have to look at how we can turn around the economy,” the Minister said.