Among the announcements made on Wednesday during a Budget 2020 Speech made by Guyana’s Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, was a promise of cash transfers for the country’s vulnerable.
“The oil resource belongs to the people of Guyana. We will ensure that oil revenue works for all Guyanese, and is spent on improving people’s lives ,” he said, highlighting that the focus will be, “Targeted cash transfer to Guyanese particularly the elderly, children, the poor and other vulnerable groups.”
Edghill stated that the aim is “to ensure that we are able to maximise the benefits that flow from this resource.”
The previous Government had on several occasions stated that they were open to the possibility of cash transfers after an executive member of one of the parties in the coalition, Professor Clive Thomas, started touting the idea of a $US5000 cash transfer per household two years ago. However, they were adamant that while possible, it would have required a feasibility study.
Back in May, Chatham House expert, Dr. Valerie Marcel, had stressed the need for caution in introducing such a programme. In an interview with OilNOW, she said this should not be executed across the board to every household, but it should be used to support the needy and vulnerable. She had in fact warned that cash transfers to all can increase inflation and would even run the risk of coming across as a “political bribe.”
The Public Works Minister emphasised that the oil revenues must be used for the improvement of the lives of Guyanese, saying, “We believe our hard work and sacrifice, bolstered by an economy strengthened by a well-managed oil and gas sector, must guarantee the next generation of Guyanese a brighter and better future.”