Speaking in the capacity of an economist, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, expressed the view that cash handouts to citizens using a portion of the oil money to come is not only possible but feasible, depending on the arrangement being used.
During an exclusive interview with this news entity, the APNU+AFC Minister said, “Are cash handouts possible? Yes! Is it feasible? Well, it depends on the quantum. Is it desirable? Well now, that is a political matter. Speaking as a politician, I can tell you that the government has not fully considered the matter which raised its head almost nine months ago.”
The cash handouts matter was first raised by Economist and Presidential Advisor on Sustainable Development, Dr. Clive Thomas in August 2018. He had expressed the view that a portion of the oil money should be set aside so that the less fortunate could benefit from a direct transfer. He recommended that US$5,000 could be given out per year to every poor household.
Speaking with the Guyana Standard, Greenidge said that, as an economist, the initiative may be a desirable one. He said, “Some part of the resources you are garnering from petroleum needs to be shared with the public and the question is one of how you do it…If the government can use the opportunity afforded by the petroleum receipts to establish entities or funds then there is no reason why cash transfers can’t be made. But the quantum is all that needs to be determined.”
In the meantime, the Minister said that the coalition government is still in the process of fine-tuning its oil and gas policy and its position on these and other matters while resisting the temptation to borrow on future earnings.