Over the past year, billions of dollars have been transferred directly to the people of Guyana, President Irfaan Ali said Monday, helping families and simultaneously boosting the economy.
Recognising the devastating impact of Covid-19 on families, he related that the COVID-19 cash grants were introduced, which by the end of the second phase, will put more than $8 billion into the hands of families across the country.
The President was speaking during an Address to the Nation.
Annual cash grants for school children were restored, too, and will place in excess of $3.3 billion into the hands of the parents of these children.
Additionally, the phased increase of old age pension has begun with the injecting an additional $4 billion annually in disposable income for senior citizens, while public assistance has increased from $9,000 to $12,000 monthly, providing an additional $500 million in income support to beneficiaries.
In the employment spheres, land rentals for farmers were reduced, releasing some $1.4 billion annually back to farmers’ cash flow; year-end-bonus for members of the Disciplined Forces were introduced, paying out more than $500 million to these workers; and a special one-off grant to frontline healthcare workers to the tune of $3 billion was launched.
Meanwhile, the President highlighted that “punitive and draconian” taxes introduced by the previous government on Guyanese were removed. Income taxes on education and healthcare were also removed.
Also, steps were taken to make home ownership more affordable, restoring the $30 million ceiling on mortgage interest relief and increasing the ceiling on low-income housing loans from $8 million to $12 million.
Moreover, $120 million for programmes supporting the community of persons living with disabilities and a further $50 million to organisations working with victims of domestic violence were distributed.
Altogether, the President said these aforementioned measures injected well over $50 billion into the economy, improving household disposable income as well as injecting liquidity into the economy.
In addition to these measures, he reminded that more than $7.5 billion has been injected into flood relief efforts for households and farmers.
And, the government’s housing drive has already seen investments of $14 billion coupled with an allocation of 6,500 house lots, processing of almost 2,000 titles and transports, and the starting of construction of almost 1,000 low, moderate, and young professional homes. Importantly, he said that the government is in the process of designing and implementing infrastructure works to see the allocation of an additional 10,000 in the coming year.
He also said that against all odds, the government has reinvested in sugar and reopened the industry, returned jobs and brought back vibrancy to communities.
Additionally, the almost 2,000 Amerindian jobs lost under the previous administration have been restored, and various initiatives to restore Linden and the Bauxite Sector are being pursued.