Govt actively mobilising resources to tackle COVID-19 – President Ali
The new People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government has been mobilising resources – financially or otherwise – to tackle the novel coronavirus pandemic in Guyana and recover from the impact it has had on the local economy.
This is according to President Dr Irfaan Ali, who was at the time speaking with reporters on the sidelines of a public event on Tuesday.
“I’ve also been actively involved in mobilising resources from international agencies and also from bilateral partners [to tackle COVID-19]. It has been going well so far. I’m hoping by Monday, we will be in a better position to say how much resources we’ve mobilised, and what has been mobilised from a medical perspective and from a socioeconomic perspective,” he noted.
In fact, the President disclosed that he has already engaged some of Guyana’s major donor bilateral partners including the Governments of India, the United States and Canada to secure more resources. He added that he has also reached out to the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Organisation of Islamic Conference and the International Money Fund (IMF), and is now slated to speak with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in the coming days. It was further noted that letters were also sent off to several of the Gulf States for resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Head of State, Guyana needs all of the assistance it can get to tackle the life-threatening disease that has killed 22 persons and infected over 620 persons.
“Those are some of the things we’re targeting, whether it comes in the form of equipment or budget support or financial resources – we need it at the moment,” he asserted.
In just one week since taking office, the new PPP/C Administration has mobilised and received 46,000 rapid antibody test kits, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), approximately 240,000 surgical masks, and face shields, gowns and other urgently needed supplies.
In fact, only on Wednesday, the Health Ministry received a number of stethoscopes, oxygen concentrators and drugs, oxygen masks, face masks (N95, KN95 and 264,000 surgical masks), 30,000 face shields, 55,000 respirators and 5200 gowns from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). PAHO/WHO Country Representative, Dr William Adu Krow disclosed that another donation, this time of much-needed ventilators and additional testing kits, from PAHO is expected in the coming days.
Additionally, last weekend, the Government of Barbados had donated an additional 15,000 PCR test kits.
Meanwhile, last Saturday at his inauguration ceremony, President Ali announced that his Government is in the process of securing an initial $4.5 billion for COVID-19 emergency response at the household level in Guyana.
“Everything possible must be done to protect our people from this dreaded and dreadful disease. That is why, as President, I will personally and urgently participate in my Government’s programme to stop infection by the coronavirus, curb its spread, and safeguard the health of our nation,” he said.
As such, the Head of State told reporters on Tuesday that his Government is currently in the process of preparing an emergency budget to take the country towards the end of the year particularly as it relates to tackling the COVID-19 disease.
Moreover, President Ali indicated that they have already asked the technical staff in the Budget Department to significantly cut their timelines in order to get the interim budget available as soon as possible.
“People are suffering. We need to help various sectors and we need to bring some relief. I’ve also asked the Bank of Guyana to work on a relief package that will help people at the household level but also help small businesses and people who would have had loans install for housing and so on. So those are some of the things we’re working on actively… We’re going to move aggressively on this,” Ali asserted. (G8)