‘Not realistic, not practical’ – Jagdeo rubbishes APNU+AFC’s motion seeking $200K for every Guyanese adult
Members of the APNU+AFC opposition, through a parliamentary motion, has called on the government to provide a $200,000 cash grant to all adult citizens on a quarterly basis, but Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo says that such a provision is not economically feasible.
The motion submitted acknowledges the rise in the cost of living, owed to price surges and resulting economic challenges. And the $200,000 cash grant is touted as a means of cushioning the fallout.
With this suggestion, each adult would receive $800,000 in a year. Providing this to the entire adult population would require billions from the country’s purse.
In fact, Jagdeo estimated that this relief measure could cost about US $500 to $600 million, which equates approximately GY $104 to $125 billion.
“If you do what they’re suggesting there, we would have to spend every cent of the oil money saved.
“It can’t be spent on anything else,” the Vice President said during a virtual discussion aired on his Facebook page on Thursday night.
Guyana has about US $700 million (GY $146.5 billion) in the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) – the country’s oil wealth fund. Officials confirmed that the country capped 2021 with US $607 million in this Fund, but garnered another US $95 million from the sale of its first oil lift for 2021.
The government, through the new NRF Act, can withdraw much of this money but top officials have stated that the money will be used to help fund the dominant infrastructure agenda needed to advance Guyana’s transformation.
“That motion that was put in Parliament is a gimmick,” Jagdeo said, emphasising: “It is not realistic, it is not practical.”
The Vice President, however, assured Guyanese that the government was pursuing several initiatives to counter the rising cost of living. This includes the removal of several taxes and providing temporary jobs countrywide.
He also reminded people that a $5 billion sum has been allocated in the 2022 National Budget to fund interventions to cushion and counter the impact of the price hikes. He noted that the government is still deciding on how to spend this sum.