Aug 09, 2020 News Comments Off on $4.5B announced for COVID-Hit households
Newly elected President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, announced yesterday that steps have been taken to secure $4.5B to help COVID-19-hit households.
Addressing a gathering of hundreds in attendance of his inauguration ceremony held at the National Cultural Centre (NCC), President Ali divulged that his administration has already started to examine from a fiscal perspective, the extent of support needed to stimulate the economy.
According to Dr. Ali, of major concern is how much money can be given to the private sector to stimulate a resumption of their economic activities and putting people back to work who have been dislodged because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has already claimed too many lives. Everything possible must be done to protect our people from this dreaded and dreadful disease. That is why, as President, I will personally and urgently participate in my Government’s programme to stop infection by the Coronavirus, curb its spread, and safeguard the health of our nation. After completing a rapid assessment, I have already begun to establish a structure to tackle the virus as effectively as possible,” Dr. Ali said.
The new President also spoke of his plan to create a COVID-19 Response Unit comprising Government policymakers, represented by the Prime Minister, Mark Phillips, and the Minister of Health, and the regional and international partners including CARICOM, the Pan American Health Organisation and the United Nation Development Programme.
According to Ali, the unit will be guided by a collaborative policy to address medical responses and to create a COVID-19 impact socio-economic plan for our people.
He said “since taking office in just one week, we have mobilized and received 46,000 rapid antibody-test kits, Personal Protection Equipment, (PPE) approximately 240,000 surgical masks, and face shields, gowns and other urgently needed supplies.”
In addition to the rapid test kits, Dr. Ali noted that the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, is sending us an additional 15,000 PCR test kits.
He said by next week Guyana should receive another 10,000 PCR kits from PAHO with a commitment to supply an additional 40,000 PCR kits.
“We have accessed three PCR testing machines with two more being sourced, and plans are in motion to train persons, including persons from the hinterland areas, in the use of the PCR machines and rapid test kits,” Ali disclosed.
Further, the Head of State said that his team has met with the Governor of the Central Bank and directed him to extend regulatory permission so as to allow for bankers to continue extending moratoriums.
“We have also looked at the possibility of adjusting the Reserve Requirement which will allow the banks to have more disposable resources and tying that adjustment with lower interest rates.
We have started to examine from a fiscal perspective what support we can give to the private sector and other groups all with the view of supporting a resumption of the economic activities and putting people back to work.”
He said that the government has reached out to several multilateral and bilateral sources with a view to urgently mobilise financial resources of the magnitude that is necessary to overcome the effects of this pandemic.
“I must say the response has been encouraging,” the President announced.
His announcement of securing billions to help offset Guyana’s COVID-19 impact comes months after the previous APNU+AFC administration tried and failed to secure monies for COVID-19 relief.
The $4.5B is reportedly coming from a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank.
The previous Government‘s request had been rejected by international banks and funding agencies in wake of a political stalemate over the results of the 2020 elections.
However, just over one week in office, the new People Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration said it was able secure the funds to the tune of billions for the cause.
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