Update on National COVID-19 Cash Grant

Distribution of Government’s national COVID-19 cash grant commenced in the Hinterland Regions (Regions 1,7,8 and 9) and then progressed to Regions 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10.  Subsequently, distribution teams commenced the distribution exercise in Region 4 and this is ongoing.

The cash grant was first announced by His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali in September this year. It numbered among a range of COVID-19 relief measures designed to bring immediate relief to persons bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, stimulate economic growth, put Guyanese back to work, and remove the heavy tax burdens implemented by the previous administration. The cash grant has served as a timely economic impetus and has catalysed business activity everywhere. We have seen how the shops have become abuzz and a smile has returned to our people who welcomed the initiative with glowing tributes.  

President Ali, in his address to the nation, spoke about ensuring the lives of citizens are taken care of, and this is one such initiative. The President’s expectation, and that of his entire Administration, is that the process remains peaceful and free of abuse. Every eligible household will receive the grant and it is His Excellency’s expectation that the distribution process will be completed as quickly as possible.

The COVID-19 cash grant is one payment of G$25,000 per principal household. It is necessary to re-emphasise that the Grant is NOT one per family. We know that some households are big, and, in some cases, more than one family may be living in a household. However, where such situation exists, the distribution clerks and regional supervisors are required to note such instances so that those families can be taken into consideration in the future.

The Regional distribution teams are therefore issuing the cash grant to the primary householder, and wherever there are OTHER family members or tenants, as the case may be, those persons are being issued with a ‘pink’ form, which will serve as the instrument to be used to verify those candidates for future consideration.

The names, addresses and contact information of persons who were not at home during the distribution exercise will be collected, and arrangements will be made for them to collect their grants at a later date. 

Primary householders are required to have a valid form of identification in their possession to receive the grant. A valid Guyana identification card, a valid driver’s licence, or a valid passport are all effective forms of identification.

Two community distribution clerks wearing specially designed Covid-19 identity badges will visit your home accompanied by community leaders, armed police security and their supervisors. Upon clearly identifying the principal householder, one clerk will issue to that householder a receipt for the grant and the other clerk will encash the receipt immediately by giving the householder a sealed envelope containing G$25,000. If there are other families of the principal householder living in the same house, those members will be registered and be issued with a “pink” form. In cases where there is no principal householder on a premises, but all the families residents therein are tenants, all such families will receive the “pink” form.

At close of business daily, distribution clerks are required to surrender unused cash along with their receipt books for security control.

At the end of the distribution exercise, each clerk submits their receipts of payments to be audited by the regional authorities and subsequently by the internal audit department of the Ministry of Finance. In this manner there is careful scrutiny to ensure that receipts issued are reconciled with cash grants distributed.  Any discrepancies are investigated, and necessary action taken.

The Auditor General has been asked to audit the entire cash grant distribution.

Note carefully that there is no requirement for pre-registration for the Grant. The Grant is delivered on a house-to-house basis by authorised officials who MUST be wearing their COVID-19 identification badges. Only authorised officials can distribute the Grant and THERE IS NO FEE FOR DISTRIBUTION.

Distribution is currently underway on the East Coast and East Bank of Demerara and in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.