$4.5 B as emergency response to help at the “household level” during COVID pandemic- President Ali

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-examining options to support private sector, other groups to have resumption of economic activities  

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rear its ugly head in Guyana, the country’s Ninth Executive President, Mohammed Irfaan Ali, has committed to ensuring that a

COVID Response Unit is established soon and will be guided by a collaborative policy to address medical responses as well as to create a COVID-19 impact socio-economic plan for Guyanese.

He made this announcement today at the National Cultural Centre during his Inauguration Ceremony.

According to the President, since taking office in just one week, his government has already mobilized and received 46,000 rapid antibody-test kits, Personal Protection Equipment, approximately 240,000 surgical masks, and face shields, gowns and other urgently needed supplies.

“In addition to the rapid test kits, the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Mottley, is sending us an additional 15,000 PCR test kits which are even now en route to Guyana.  By next week we should receive another 10,000 PCR kits from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) with a commitment to supply an additional 40,000 PCR kits. We have accessed three PCR testing machines with two more being sourced, and plans are in motion to train persons, including persons from the hinterland areas, in the use of the PCR machines and rapid test kits.”

The Head of State disclosed that in addition to this, work has already commenced on securing “immediately” an initial sum of $4.5 billion as emergency response to help at the “household level.”

In relation to the financial burden and strains that many persons are suffering since the pandemic hit the shores of Guyana, President Ali explained that his administration has already met with the Governor of the Central Bank and directed him to extend regulatory permission so as to allow for bankers to continue extending moratoriums.

“We have also looked at the possibility of adjusting the Reserve Requirement which will allow the banks to have more disposable resources and tying that adjustment with lower interest rates. We have started to examine from a fiscal perspective what support we can give to the private sector and other groups all with the view of supporting a resumption of the economic activities and putting people back to work.

We have reached out to several multilateral and bilateral sources with a view to urgently mobilise financial resources of the magnitude that is necessary to overcome the effects of this pandemic.”

He noted that in this regard, the response has been “encouraging” and that while pursuing this objective, the PPP/C Government will build closer partnerships with Guyana’s Caribbean Community (CARICOM) sister States and with the United States of America and Canada, which are Guyana’s “traditional partners and friends in this Hemisphere, and which have done so much to help us preserve our democracy.”

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