January 11, 2010

GUYANA: Over $4b for old age pensions, public aid this year

. GEORGETOWN, Guyana / Stabroek News / January 11, 2010 The government plans to expend over $4 billion on old age pensions and public assistance payments this year, according to Finance Minister Dr Ashni K. Singh. With effect from February, old age pensions will be paid at a rate of $6,600 per month, while public assistance will be disbursed at a rate of $4,900 per month. The minister made the disclosure yesterday, according to the Government Information Agency (GINA). The Minister told GINA that under these programmes, over 50,000 persons are expected to receive direct income support on a monthly basis. Singh noted that this support was additional to other initiatives such as the water rates assistance programme. Under this programme, Government provides financial support to meet water charges on behalf of old age pensioners. Government also runs a residential programme for the elderly at the Palms, along with the several public health care programmes. GINA said that recent years have witnessed a steep increase in the amounts paid by Government under the old age pension and public assistance programme. The new rates announced by the Minister are 80 percent higher than 2007 levels in the case of old age pensions and 98 percent higher than 2007 levels in the case of public assistance, GINA said. Singh also drew attention to and commended the steps taken by the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security to improving the timeliness with which old age pension books are distributed. “This has contributed in a very significant measure to minimising, and in most cases eliminating, the delay with which beneficiaries can access their entitlements”, GINA said. [rc] © 2009 Stabroek News