Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has noted that the government is still keen on properly figuring out how it will allocate the $5 billion that was earmarked in the 2023 National Budget to alleviate the effects of the rising cost of living.

In his most recent press conference, he emphasized the government’s commitment to responsibly and effectively distributing these funds to ease the financial burdens faced by the population, noting that to ensure a comprehensive approach, it will hold a national consultation, seeking feedback from various segments of society to identify areas where interventions are most needed.

Jagdeo’s announcement came in response to criticism from the Parliamentary opposition, who accused the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government of being unsympathetic toward the working class and poor. The opposition went as far as condemning the government for not granting salary and wage increases to crucial sectors such as teachers, police, the Guyana Defence Force, and public servants.

Furthermore, they pointed out the absence of any cost of living relief for ordinary Guyanese in 2023. “In addition, they have offered no cost of living relief to ordinary Guyanese in 2023,” the opposition said in a statement. It added that, “Last week in the National Assembly, Minister with responsibility for Finance Ashni Singh, when asked about the $5 billion voted in the 2023 National Budget to help Guyanese survive the high cost of living, gave an answer that may not have even convinced himself.”

Echoing Singh’s statement, Jagdeo clarified that the government’s intention is to proceed with the allocation after conducting the planned consultations. This prudent step ensures that the funds are allocated in a manner that best serves the needs of the people.

Notably, Jagdeo highlighted that since assuming office in 2020, the Government of Guyana has been proactive in implementing measures to mitigate the effects of the high cost of living, a challenge felt not only within the country but also globally. By comparing these efforts to those of advanced nations, he underscored the government’s commitment to supporting its citizens during these difficult economic times.

He said that his government remains dedicated to addressing the pressing issue of the high cost of living and the planned national consultation will allow for a well-informed and inclusive strategy, ensuring that the $5 billion allocation effectively alleviates financial pressures for citizens across the nation.


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