A recent World Bank report has found that nearly half of Guyanese households recorded a drop in their total income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some even running out of food, despite the government’s efforts to cushion the pandemic’s blow.
The new report from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is named: “An Uneven Recovery: The impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean.”
According to this report, households in each of the 24 countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region recorded a drop in their income. An average of 48 per cent of the households in the region recorded that decline in income, compared to the pre-pandemic period.
For Guyana, that figure was just less than 48 per cent- meaning that it has been estimated that almost half of all Guyanese households grappled with some level of decrease in their income.
Importantly, the report stated, “This scenario of economic turmoil for households in LAC has persisted despite government attempts to counter it through expansions in coverage and expenditure of regular social transfers and the introduction of emergency transfers, which jointly benefit 46 per cent of households in the region at present.”
The World Bank noted that nearly 80 per cent of households in Guyana also benefited from either regular or emergency cash transfers. This was the third-highest government transfer in the group of countries studied.
Locally, these transfers include the provision of a $25,000 COVID-19 relief cash grant to households, the ‘Because We Care’ education grant, varied flood assistance to farmers and households and one-off grants for vulnerable groups.
Even so, the report also detailed that food insecurity during the pandemic was “particularly worrisome” in Haiti, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana, and Belize. In Guyana, the number of people that ran out of food during the public nearly doubled compared to pre-pandemic levels.
This World Bank survey used a representative sample of the population aged 18 years and older, with access to a telephone in each country.