More cash grants, home building assistance for Guyanese– Pres. Ali 


President Irfaan Ali on Monday announced a series of additional measures to bring relief to citizens as prices for a number of critical commodities continue to increase.

Among the new measures is a $25, 000 cash grant for every riverain and hinterland household, free fertilizer for farmers, home building assistance from the government and the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on selected construction materials.

Notwithstanding a series of sweeping interventions already made by the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), President Ali said the additional relief measures are to offset hardship imposed by global shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

The President said the measures were birthed out of consultation with citizens, and the $25, 000 payout will amount to some $800 million.

This is in addition to cash grants given to households, farmers and children countrywide last year.

“Our first initiative is targeted at households in riverain and hinterland communities. A transfer of $25, 000 cash grant to each of these households,” Dr. Ali announced in a televised statement Monday afternoon.

In addition to the cash grants, Dr. Ali said the government will utilise some $1 billion from the $5 billion set aside in the 2022 budget to buy fertilisers, which will be distributed free to farmers in their planting and replanting activities.

Dr. Ali said this is important to ensure that the increased cost for fertilisers is not passed on to consumers.

“Considering that fertiliser accounts for 15 to 30 per cent of the total operating cost, this will significantly reduce input costs,” Dr. Ali said.

The Head of State said the government will continue to look at how it can provide additional relief to vulnerable groups such as pensioners, women and children who are affected by increased prices.

In the construction sector, the government will launch a home construction assistance program where it will build houses for persons who already have house lots but finds it difficult to start the construction of their houses.

This measure extends to persons with both government and private house lots; some lots may not be in government constructed schemes.

“Persons who have house lots and wish to receive government help to construct their home may register their interest with a unit to be established soon. At the time of registration, the applicant will select their preference from three models at the cost of $7 million, $9 million and $12 million,” Dr. Ali added.

The government through this facility will support the applicant in accessing bank financing and become directly involved in the construction.

In addition to this, the government will remove Value Added Tax (VAT) from more construction materials. With VAT recently removed on cement, new items like sheetrock and concrete board will also no longer attract VAT until the market stabilises.

Dr. Ali said this will cost the government some $100 million annually, but regarded it as critical relief for persons looking to build their homes.

The President said since the PPP/C came to power it had been seeking out ways to reverse the hardship inflicted by the former APNU+AFC government and salvage and restart the economy after its five years of mismanagement.

He said the government was also simultaneously laying the foundation for a rapidly transforming country; growth brought on by the production and sale of oil.

The government had to also deal with challenging and extreme external conditions which forced prices of commodities to reach record levels, but found ways to cushion the harsh external pressures.

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