‘We’re not against cash grants’

President David Granger

…President says WPA was asked to work out details of proposal
…plans will address developments across sectors with major focus on education

LEADER of the A Partnership for National Unit (APNU) and President of Guyana, Brigadier David Granger, said the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) has been asked to provide detailed information on its proposed ‘cash transfer’ initiative, which, if implemented, would result in Guyanese households receiving liquid cash from the revenues streaming from the Oil and Gas Industry.

“There is no for or against. The proposal has been made by the Working People’s Alliance but we have not worked out the details. The others partners are not against cash grants, but we asked for more information and the details as to who will be eligible and how it will be disbursed,” President Granger explained.

At the time, he was speaking with reporters on the sideline of an accreditation ceremony at the Ministry of the Presidency. The WPA forms part of the APNU – a partner within the coalition government.

“So it is not a question of refusal or any conflict; it is a question of the operationalising of that element, of what is going to be part of the Sovereign Wealth Fund,” he further added.
The President said it is important to work out a detailed plan for the use of revenues from the Oil and Gas Industry. That plan, he posited, will address developments across sectors with major focus on education. “Right now, we are eating the cake before we get it,” President Granger posited while noting that the country must first have an understanding of its profits before certain decisions. “So we don’t know how much we are getting, so we asked our partners to address their minds on how much needs to be spent and for what purpose and to whom,” President Granger said.

While underscoring the need for a clear plan, he iterated that the parties are not against the initiative.

“We are now in the stage of planning; and it is not necessarily the best thing to conduct this debate before the plan has been made…But the APNU is not against any cash grants; it needs to know more, so it could make a proper pronouncement to the people of Guyana,” President Granger said.

In its proposal, The WPA recommended that Guyanese households receive US$5,000 each in the form of a cash transfer. The idea was the brainchild of Economist, Professor Clive Thomas.

At a recent forum, Professor Thomas said researches done by Rystad Energy Analytics, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Bank have shown that certain types of cash transfers aid social inclusion, food, nutrition and health; education, labour, early childhood development and hinders the impact of poverty and inequality.
He said that the initiative – if accepted – is not likely to be fully operational until the latter part of 2020 and is not intended to be permanent as most Guyanese will be better off each new year into oil production. It is estimated that the initiative would cost $US1.05B annually.

Whether or not the initiative is implemented, Guyana, in the first 10 years of oil production, is expected to experience unprecedented development with major focus on education. This would be in keeping with President David Granger’s Decade of Development.
Emphasis will also be placed on the further diversification of the economy and infrastructural developments within the health, tourism, agriculture, social services, telecommunications and housing sectors among other critical sectors.