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Cash-grant for school-going children not a one-off payment- Manickchand

Minister of Education Priya Manickchand on Wednesday said the GYD$15,000 cash-grant programme for each registered school age child would not be a one-off payment.

Responding to questions by opposition coalition parliamentarians, she said the grant would eventually be increased to GYD$50,000.

“We have no concerns about it being sustained or sustainable because when we get money we invest it back in people and we understand how important is it for parents to get this kind of assistance,” she told the House sitting as the Committee of Supply to consider the 2020 budgeted estimates of expenditure.

Back in 2015, the David Granger-led administration had scrapped the cash-grant, saying that Cabinet records by the previous People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration had shown that the grant scheme had been unsustainable and had been a 2015 election gimmick.

But the Education Minister said the cash-grant was being reintroduced in keeping with her party’s 2020 election campaign promise.”We are happy to assure that this is going to be something that is not a one-off payment. It is going to be something that is sustained throughout the years,” she said.

Ms. Manickchand said the payment logistics would depend on the r egions, availability of resources and services, against the background of previously using Western Union payment system.

Contrary to several media reports, opposition APNU+AFC parliamentarian Annette Ferguson claimed that it was the PPP that had scrapped the cash-grants for school-going children. “I want to make it absolutely clear  to the Honourable Member and all Guyanese…the coalition never abolished the cash-grant, it was never abolished under the coalition government and we ought to be truthful. It was abolished by the PPP in 2014,” she said.

The Education Minister pointed Ms. Ferguson to the parliamentary records that show that the cash-grant had been introduced by the PPP in 2014 and discontinued by A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) in 2015. “That is what happened and it is in the Hansard of this House so when we want to stand and pontificate about truth , understand that there are records in this House that proce what you just said to be an untruth,” Ms. Manickchand said.