Gov’t gets $2.5B more for COVID cash grant; Over 16,000 given ‘pink slips’ for second phase distribution

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The government on Monday gained Parliamentary approval for a supplementary budget of over $18 billion which includes $2.5 billion being used to pay out the COVID-19 relief grants of $25,000 for each household.

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindyha Persaud, told the National Assembly that the initial budgeted sum for the COVID-19 relief grants was some $4.5 billion.

With the new approval, the government would be paying out a total do $7 billion to families but Minister Persaud was keen to note that this $7 billion will only be enough to wrap up Phase 1 of the exercise.

In the first phase, the government said it is only catering for $25,000 per household and not family.

Some 16,375 persons who have been issued pink slips for one reason or another and they will be captured in the second phase of the exercise.

Distribution of the government’s national COVID-19 cash grant is currently underway on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara and in Sophia, Greater Georgetown. Region Four is the only outstanding region for the distribution of the grant to be completed, with the other nine regions already served.

Persaud explained that the government had initially used the numbers from the 2012 census to commence rollout of the exercise but verification on the ground have proven that the number of families and households are significantly different.

The Minister said the government has returned to the National Assembly for additional funding because the initial budgeted sum proved to be insufficient.

She explained that while the sums will be enough to complete Region Four, persons who did not receive the grant will be catered for in another phase of the exercise.

Persaud said an audit will be done of the exercise. The COVID-19 cash grant is a one-time payment of G$25,000 per principal household.

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