Region Nine receives close to $500 million in COVID-19 relief funds
Close to $500 million in COVID-19 relief funds has been distributed to 57 communities across the Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region Nine). Minister of Natural Resources, Hon. Vickram Bharrat led a team to the Region on a three-day outreach to distribute the funds, which are to be used to revitalise Amerindian and hinterland economies as the COVID-19 pandemic prevails.
“This is just to show our commitment to development in the hinterland region. This is to show our commitment in bridging the gap between coastland and hinterland because I know that is something that we all want. As a Government, we would like to see that,” Minister Bharrat said.
The pandemic has spared no country. The Minister noted that in addition to the health crisis the pandemic raises the threat of extreme poverty. He said this is something the Government recognises and is addressing.
“That is why we are here today, because our President and our Government have realised that we need to assist our people in the hinterland.
We have realised that our people in the hinterland regions are more at a disadvantage than the ones on the coast, that you need assistance, that we need to help you jumpstart your village economy, that we need to help you stimulate economic growth in your community so that our people do not suffer more than they are suffering right now,” he said.
Other Ministers have fanned out across the regions to distribute the grants in Regions, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Eight and Ten.
Government has allocated a one-off $1.73 billion to be divided across the hinterland regions for communities affected by COVID-19. The monies will be used to create ICT hubs and infrastructure development projects or income generating projects to mitigate the hardships faced by communities.
President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, since taking office made budgetary provisions for the $4.5 billion COVID-19 relief cash grant which is to see each household receiving $25,000 to cushion the effects of the pandemic.
Additionally, $1.8 billion was allocated from the emergency budget to provide hampers to households.