The government is denying that it gave any special cash grants to some “50 big” businesses as part of COVID-19 relief.
On Monday during a walkabout in the Bourda Market, Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon said that small businesses are still without much needed relief as he accused the government of giving monetary relief to some big businesses, “this government has been giving millions of dollars to big businesses, I understand there was some project in which they gave several businesses, 20 of them of so, $25 million COVID grant, and these small businesses in the market that really need help and they cant even get that $25,000 cash grant.”
In an invited comment on Monday afternoon, Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo described the statement as “absolutely untrue,” as he said these allegations have no basis, “it would serve the country well if you are to provide evidence of this because it never happened,” Jagdeo said.
Additionally, the Vice President said that the government has been focusing on trying to “find the balance” in addressing the plight facing small businesses because of the pandemic, “at the time the President spoke to them, most of the small businesses were reeling from the lock down, they had absolutely no income and they were on the verge of bankruptcy, many of them requested a more balanced approach and the government heeded that call and tried to reopen the country, Jagdeo said.
The government feels that a number of measures announced and implemented following the two budgets it presented would bring relief to businesses, “if you look at the budget, you will see a series of tax measures, if annualised, those would bring about $40 billion of relief to the business community and the workers across the country,” Jagdeo said.
On Monday during the walk about at the municipal market, the Leader of the Opposition said explained that there continues to be reports about high prices for goods, “over the last two weeks, we have had a number of persons reporting prices in the markets are going up, up, up all the time and they have no explanation from anyone,” Mr Harmon said, “from almost all of the persons we spoke to we get the sense that they have no control over the increase in prices.”
Harmon called on the government to address this issue, “You cannot keep making statements that all is well in Guyana, everything is good, when in fact the ordinary man, the small man, is feeling the squeeze, things are bad for ordinary people in this country.”
The Leader of the Opposition called for relief that could benefit everyone, across the board.