Guyana among leading countries with COVID-19 cash transfers to households

Guyana is one of the leading countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, that have been assisting their people through the hardships associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.

This is according to a study conducted by the World Bank, titled ‘An Uneven Recovery: Taking The Pulse Of Latin America And The Caribbean Following The Pandemic’.

Graph shows share of households that received government transfers during the pandemic (World Bank Group)

This aspect of the study considered 24 countries. It shows that Guyana follows closely   behind El Salvador and Bolivia, which distributed transfers to more than 80 per cent of households. Guyana is recorded as having made transfers to just under 80 per cent of households.

The World Bank noted that help was pertinent for households as food insecurity threatened many.

“As a result of diminished resources, nearly twice as many households in the region suffer from food insecurity, compared to before the onset of the pandemic. This is evidenced by the fact that 24 per cent of households across LAC reported having run out of food due to lack of money or other resources, as opposed to 13 per cent before the start of the pandemic.

Caribbean countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Guyana, and Belize face particularly worrisome levels of food insecurity,” the report said.

Assistance disbursed to Guyanese include the COVID-19 cash grant of $25,000 per household, totaling $7.5 billion to families across all administrative regions. All public sector employees received a one-off payment of $25,000 in December 2020, totaling $2 billion. In August 2021, the government announced measures to provide a one-off grant of $25,000 to old-age pensioners, public assistance recipients, and persons living with disabilities, benefiting some 90,000 persons to the tune of $2.2 billion. It also purchased $200 million in electricity credits for the most vulnerable households.

The ‘Because We Care cash grant,’ which was taken away from public school children by the previous administration, was restored, increased to $19,000, and extended to private school children, amounting to an injection of $3.6 billion to help them get back to school. The government also assisted farmers and households affected by the May/June floods, to the tune of $7.8 billion.