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Apr 27, 2020

Ten Million Used for Food Assistance

The online portal of the Unemployed Relief Fund closed on Friday; as many as eighty-one thousand persons applied for benefits, having lost their jobs due to COVID-19 or were jobless before the virus.  As of Friday, government paid out three million dollars in unemployment relief, but there are still thousands of applications to review.  Today, the Prime Minister addressed the situation as it relates to the funding of the Fund; a portion of which was used for the Food Assistance Programme.


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“While the seventy-five million was borrowed for unemployment relief, I have taken the liberty of using ten million from that amount to fund the rollout, the start of the food assistance programme because where else would it come from?  I expect to be able to put that back into the seventy-five million dollar unemployment relief fund as soon as I get monies from OFID.  I don’t know if I had made it clear already, but it bears repeating even if I did, what we ‘re looking at from OFID is just about ten million [dollars], a little bit under ten million as the reallocation of funds that had already been approved for the South Side Poverty Alleviation Project, the so-called infrastructure component of that project.  I got back word that our request for the reallocation has been approved, now the unfortunate thing is that how the South Side Poverty Alleviation Project operates is that you spend the money and they you are reimbursed.  So that ten million, in round figures, that ten million that’s been approved is not ten million dollars in hand.  In fact, my discussion with the country officer at OFID resulted in her telling me that they want to do it in two or three tranches, but the first tranche could be as high as five million.  Bottom line is that’s been approved so we know that money is coming.  So I will then be able to, in fact, put the ten million back into the unemployment relief fund.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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