Posted: Thursday, April 16, 2020. 7:09 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Prime Minister Dean Barrow informed the nation today that the government will roll out an emergency countrywide food assistance program so that everyone can benefit.
Barrow says that the country is in the middle of an economic shock, in which business activity has come to an almost complete halt, revenue sources are dried up and the tax base is eroded. The government is short of money and not possible to collect anything, however, Barrow said that they must find salaries for public servants that maintain their administration and pay the Cuban brigade.
The PPE and testing kits must also be paid for and the Government promises to keep the lights on and the water flowing.
Above all the challenges during this pandemic, PM Barrow says that government will help to feed our people.
“ It is an unprecedented challenge and seems like an impossible task but we go after it with hands and heart,” Barrow said.
PM Barrow says that government is borrowing from the Central Bank and will employ every resource to deliver to the citizens of Belize.
Over 23,000 people have been approved for the unemployment relief program and thousands of families received food baskets. The first tranche costs $12 million.
PM Barrow says that he wishes that the food and money could be more adequate and the distribution process could move faster but this is a shock to our lives like nothing we have seen before and the capacity is strained.
PM Barrow assured all Belizeans that no one will be left behind. everyone will get the basics, and all will be able to survive on what government will provide.
The $74 million from Central Bank will assist the unemployed for at least 7 months since no one knows how long this will be.
Most assistance is coming from international financial institutions and will be sued for food assistance.
The Boost program will be augmented. This program is separate from the unemployment relief program and entails a cash transfer.
Everyone on food assistance will now be placed on Boost program because Boost lasts longer and includes cash transfer allowing citizens to purchase their own food, easing the strain on the Ministry of Human Development.
“All that we do is without regard for color, red or blue, no politician of any stirpes will get hand on any GOB money. This is the way we have began this is the way we will continue…the nation comes first and country over party every time,” Barrow ended.
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