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President Irfaan Ali has announced a $25,000 one-off grant to all workers within the public sector to assist in the financial challenges which have arisen as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The total cost of the assistance amounts to over GYD $2B and will benefit over 60,000 workers including current workers of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).
In a video statement on Thursday the President stated that those to receive the cash grant include Central Government, statutory bodies, subvention agencies, public corporations, Government pensioners and staff of the University of Guyana (UG).
Regarding the inclusion of current workers of GuySuCo, the President said: “Those sugar workers who were unconscionably deprived of their livelihood by the APNU/AFC Government, will in the New Year be provided with transitional support as we continue to restructure the industry, in keeping with the PPP/C’s promise.
The grant matches the amount being distributed by the Government as part of the COVID-19 relief efforts. It comes days after the APNU+AFC Opposition criticized the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government for requesting a $17.4B supplementary budgetary allocation some three days before the end of the financial year but — at the time – failing to cater to bonuses for public servants.
“One would expect that if there was need for additional funds then a sum which would cater for a bonus to be paid to the public servants in December would have been added there but there’s nothing like that. No consideration whatsoever,” Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon had criticized.
Compared to the previous year  public servants earning between $100,000 and $1M received an 8.5 per cent increase; those earning less than 100,000, a nine per cent increase and those earning a minimum wage of $64,220 a total of $69,336, a sum in excess of their basic salaries, in their December pay cheques.
That year, it was also announced that the minimum basic salary in the public service would climb from $64,200 to $70,000. All of the increases were tax-free and retroactive to January 1, 2019.
Added to this, increases occurred in the following allowances for health sector workers: Station Allowances – increased by over 260 per cent from $2,800 to $10,000; Hinterland allowances – increased by between 100 per cent and 600 per cent from between $4000 and $12,000 to $24,000; Risk allowance – increased by 900 percent from $500 to $5000; uniform allowance for health sector workers – increased from $13,000 and $22,135 to $15,000 and $30,000; and on-call allowance for doctors also increased.