Budget 2022 will push job creation – 500 Amerindian CSOs to be employed

Government is fulfilling its promise of creating 50,000 jobs in its first five-year term and the Amerindian villages are not being side-lined in this venture.

Presenting Budget 2022 in the National Assembly, Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, M.P, announced that 500 jobs will be created in Amerindian villages in every region. This will be done by extending the Community Support Officers (CSO) programme.

“In 2022, I’m pleased to announce that the number of CSOs will be increased to 2500, creating an additional 500 jobs for young Amerindian persons. And the sum of $60 million will be spent on training 660 of these CSOs to serve in these 220 communities in a variety of areas; tourism and hospitality, development of business plans, food safety prerequisites, good manufacturing practices and the list goes on.”

Minister of Amerindian Affairs, Pauline Sukhai, MP with a group of CSOs at a recent graduation

Dr Singh revealed that in 2021, $666.5 million was expended on stipends to engage 2,000 CSOs under the Youth Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeship Programme, YEAP.

Some $115.6 million was also spent towards the training of 420 CSOs in areas such as; ICT, tractor driving, licencing and maintenance, and solar panel installation and maintenance.

These CSOs are paid a stipend of $30,000 per month to support the village council and facilitate the smooth operation of events in their villages.

When the PPP/C returned to Government in August 2020, it executed the promise it made while in opposition, to return the CSO programme that was quashed in 2015.

CSOs at a recent graduation ceremony

Additionally, Dr Singh told the House that 31,295 hinterland students are expected to benefit from the “Because We Care” cash grants in 2022. This grant will be increased from $15,000 to $25,000.

“Additionally, to improve access to education and skills, a sum of $93.3 million is budgeted towards the hinterland scholarship programme, where 805 students are expected to benefit.”

In total, $3.1 billion is allocated for core Amerindian development programmes, which includes Amerindian Land Titling and the furtherance of the tractor initiative. Dr Singh noted that, “this, along with key investments across every sector, will set the stage for a rapid improvement in wellbeing in our Amerindian and hinterland villages.”