Last Updated on Saturday, 26 December 2015, 20:59 by GxMediaOld age pensioners are to receive a five percent bump in the monthly payouts from the government from May 1, finance minister Dr. Ashni Singh has announced.
That works out to $625 more than the $12,500 they are currently receiving. Presenting the estimates for the 2014 national budget Dr. Singh said the increase would equate to an additional $212.5M outlay in pensions, pushing the amount to some $6.6B.
Dr. Singh noted that as recent as 2006 the non-contributory pension scheme payout was $3,500 and had been increasing steadily since. The opposition had last year pushed for the amount to be raised to $15,000 monthly.
Other welfare measures announced included a 50 percent increase in the electricity assistance programme for eligible pensioners. The government will now subsidise $30,000 in electricity rates for those pensioners who qualify for the initiative.
Dr. Singh said this represented an additional $300M in disposable income being placed in the hands of senior citizens.
The minister also announced that a $10,000 education grant would be given for students in the public school system.
“In an effort to provide additional support for parents with school age children, government will provide this year a cash grant to the parents of every child attending a nursery, primary or secondary school in the public education system in the amount of $10,000 per child for the year 2014,” he said.
Some 188,000 families are expected to benefit at a cost of $2B he added. The government also runs school feeding and uniform distribution programmes in the public school system.
Another $1B has been earmarked to promote rural businesses to foster employment for the young the minister said. Additionally, some US4M (GUY$800M) is to be spent over time to establish a hospitality institute as the government looks to cash in on the tourism sector.
Other measures announced included a $500M earmark to ensure the rice industry’s competitiveness was sustained and $200M to boost diversification in the wider food production sector.