— Finance Minister
THE roll out of the $25,000 cash grants and electricity subsidy specifically targeting vulnerable groups such as the elderly, persons with disabilities, and those who rely on public assistance is expected to commence soon, said Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh.
Speaking on the sidelines of a recent event, Minister Singh said that the government has already commenced discussions on what mechanisms will be used to roll out the initiative.
The minister further explained that in the case of the elderly, the government will be adapting and following the same mechanism used to distribute the monthly old-age pension books.
“In the case of the old age pensioners, we already have a database of old age pensioners and we already have system in which pension books are distributed… and that is a well-developed system there and we are planning to essentially use that mechanism to deliver this additional voucher,” the minister said.
Similarly, he said persons with disabilities will be able to received their grants via their usual distribution system.
“For the disabled persons and the public assistance recipients here again we already have a well-developed mechanism for public assistance so we are going to be using that mechanism to deliver the additional support,” he added.
Meanwhile, the government is working closely with the Guyana Power and Light Incorporated, on how the electricity subsidy will be distributed using the data that is already available from the electricity company.
“On the electricity, consumers, GPL has, again, a very comprehensive database of all their customers. They already have data on how many households consume less than 75 kilowatts. So, we are having an engagement with them.”
While not giving an exact date as to when the distributions of the cash grants will begin, the Finance Minister reassured that following the instructions given by the Head-of State, President Irfaan Ali, the initiatives will be rolled as soon as possible.
“We expect to be implementing very shortly, the President’s instructions are to distribute those in the shortest possible time and we have conveyed that message to the relevant agencies,” he said, adding: “I will stop short of necessarily committing to next month, there is a cycle and I’m not sure what the cycle is, I would stop short to say next month …I am pushing for it be rolled as soon as possible.”
President, Dr Irfaan Ali had announced that some 6,500 elderly persons will benefit from a $25,000 one-off cash grant. Additionally, a similar grant also valued at $25,000 will be distributed to all recipients of public assistance, and persons living with disabilities.
The Head-of-State also announced that an electricity credit will be paid to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) on behalf of all households consuming not more than 75 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. The credit to each household will be equivalent to one month of their electricity bill, and will inject more than $200 million of disposable income into more than 40,000 households.