Social Protection budget approved

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Ministry of Social Protection has received $16.988B to continue its mandate of providing quality service to the country’s vulnerable groups – women, children, the elderly, homeless and youths. The sum was given the National Assembly’s nod of approval earlier this evening.

The sum of $150M was approved for the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) Projects. The venture entails provision for community-driven entrepreneurial projects, increased job opportunities and employment, improved access to training, enhanced skills and competency levels, and greater social and cultural cohesion.

Amna Ally, Minister of Social Protection

Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally explained that for 2017, 20 SLED projects were rolled out in all the administrative regions except Region Six. She explained that the 2018 allocation will cater for additional programmes to be implemented in more communities in all the regions.

Other provisions covered under the ministry’s budget is an allocation of $10M each to fund a country gender assessment and the preparation of a social protection strategy. Minister Ally explained that the assessment will examine gender inequalities in the education system with special emphasis on the under-achievement of boys.

The sum of $6.6M will provide for the construction of a fire escape at the Palms Geriatric Institution, while $20M will cover the procurement of equipment and furniture for the geriatric facility and $16.5M the purchase of buses for the Palms and New Opportunity Corps.

A total of $144M has been allocated for the completion of the Drop-in-Centre at Sophia. Another 9.5M will be used for the purchase of a vehicle for Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) and 12M for the purchase of furniture and equipment for Child Care Secretariat, district officers’ quarters and care centres.

Under current expenditure, $101,887M was allotted for subsidies and contributions for local organisations.

Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Priya Manickchand questioned the reduction of subsidies to the Guyana Legal Aid Clinic by $25M. Minister Ally explained that whilst the reduction will not affect the work of the clinic. She noted if however the $41M allotted to the clinic is exhausted, there is an avenue (once it is justified) in which a request can be made for additional funding.

Asked to defend subsidies for the Together in Peace organisation, Minister Ally clarified that the shelter, which was created in 2015, provides shelter for victims of trafficking. However due to the sensitive nature of the issue, the Ministry could not provide any further details of the organisation and its functions.

By: Synieka Thorne

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