—$1.6 Billion already distributed
Two books containing 25 vouchers each worth $5 million were mysteriously misplaced
during the Ministry of Education’s $10,000 Cash Grant distribution process. This disclosure was made by Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, during her Ministry’s end of year press conference at the National Centre for Educational Resource Development on Friday.
According to Manickchand, the situation of the displaced vouchers was among the few challenges that were encountered during the planned $2 Billion exercise. But despite this state of affairs the Minister said that no one was able to encash the vouchers.
Upon the disappearance of the vouchers she said, “We were immediately able to put a stop on payment so they were not encashed; they were lost but the money wasn’t lost…We were able to say don’t cash these vouchers and that is the kind of relationship we need with someone.” She also spoke of plans to sustain the Cash Grant programme in the New Year.
Even as she vocalised her satisfaction with the programme which was introduced for the first time this year, the Minister said that its success was in fact a direct result of strategic planning and preparation.
Manickchand said that the programme will not ever degenerate to a ‘loose’ programme. “For me, accountability is huge on the programme…We want to account for every cent we spend and it’s a fine balance of getting the money efficiently to parents and students but (at the same time) making sure that we in the process don’t do ourselves in and have you ask us questions about accountability later on,” noted the Education Minister.
Last March, Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, in presenting the National Budget announced that each public school child, from nursery to secondary school, will be eligible for a $10,000 Cash Grant, compliments of the Government of Guyana.
Subsequent to that announcement, there were several consultations across the country to ascertain how parents (and/or guardians) of the eligible children would prefer to receive the Grants on their children’s behalf.
The Education Minister attended more than 50 such consultations herself and, according to her, the almost unanimous request was that the Grant be paid in voucher form that could be en-cashed at Western Union Money Transfer offices across the country. Cash was however distributed to areas that did not have Western Union services.
The Cash Grant payment commenced in early October with few and far challenges. “We tried very hard to be as open and a transparent as we could possibly be,” said the Minister as she pointed out that the public was made well aware of the entire process and even foreseen challenges through advertisements and media reports.
“We ran what we believe was an extremely successful programme…There is very little that we can say that we are unhappy about. I am very, very pleased that the staff worked so hard to pull it off,” said the Minister as she considered that the programme was a rather large one of national magnitude.
As at December 8, last, the number of vouchers issued across the country was 135,969, of which 135,689 were en-cashed. As at December 8 too, the number of children receiving the grant in cash form, amounted to 30,674. This amounted to the sum of $1.7 billion. “I say December 8 because of certain weather and other conditions. Even as we speak some areas are receiving this grant,” said the Minister.
She revealed that only about four areas were left to be served. All things being equal all of these areas were slated to be served by yesterday (December 13), according to the Minister.
Sep 22, 2018The 2018 Indigenous Heritage Games (IHG) was officially kicked off by Minister of Indigenous Peoples Affairs, Sydney Allicock yesterday morning at the at the Everest Cricket Club (ECC) Ground,...
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