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Grocery Bag Program Rolled Over Into New Fiscal Year #549122
03/27/21 03:35 AM
03/27/21 03:35 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,817
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
Hon. Dolores Balderamos's Ministry is showing mindfulness of the present financial challenges with the Minister announcing today that the Grocery Bag Program, a program which she previously claimed would end with the financial year, will have to continue into the new one.

And while she made no commitment as to how long grocery bags can be provided, she made it very clear that this type of social assistance cannot continue indefinitely.

Hon. Dolores Balderamos, Minister of Human Development
"I can say to you, let me walk a line here and this is the last thing I will say. The government will try out level best to continue the food assistance into the new financial year for a limited period. I cannot speak to what period of time because that would have to be a Cabinet decision, so that's what I would like to say on the one hand, but on the other hand let me go out a little bit on a limb and say that our most serious responsibility right now is to try to put our people back to work. It's a difficult time but we cannot encourage complete dependency. Yes, it's nice to be able to receive a grocery bag, or a pantry as it used to be called. That is nice but. I would have to say ladies and gentlemen of the media that that is unsustainable, so even though we will try to continue it for a reasonably limited period into the new financial year it is not something that can be indefinite.

Channel 7

Re: Grocery Bag Program Rolled Over Into New Fiscal Year [Re: Marty] #549511
04/15/21 04:38 AM
04/15/21 04:38 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 79,817
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

A 3 Million Dollar Grocery Bag

We also asked the Human Development Minister about the Prime Minister's announcement at his budget presentation last week Friday that 3 million dollars would be set aside to continue with the ongoing food assistance program.

It's not a whole lot when you consider how. Many hungry mouths COVID has left to feed.

Today, the Minister of Human Development made it clear that her staff will try its best to make this money last as long as possible for the beneficiaries:

Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia - Minister of Human Development
"We realize in these very lean times that we can't just yank the food assistance program. We will not be able to have as much, but we do have a 3 million there that we can start with. And also, we may be able to move some of the money from other line items in the CAP-2, so that, for example, we may be able to add in another $250,000, and some more money from the CAP-3, if we are able to access it. But, it will depend on the availability of the cash. Now, it will have to be reduced in terms of the clients that we can reach because it really cannot be a free-for-all. And this is one of the difficulties that we have had. I have acknowledged publicly that the vetting process for the BCCAT has been somewhat flawed, but since it is a World Bank project, we really do have to carry on with it up until July or August. But, after that, we will be focusing on food assistance, and I believe that this will be able to take us up to December. Beyond, I can't speak."

"What happens when the Prime Minister comes to the nation, and specifically to your ministry, to say look, we really cannot find any more money for the assistance program? What happens to those clients?"

Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
"I am hoping, gentlemen and ladies of the media, that by then, we would be able to put more of our people back to work. As you know - and I have said it - giving out groceries, yes, to our most vulnerable is a good thing, but really, when you look at it, it's unsustainable. So, our goal has to be putting Belizeans back to work."

"How many people - households rather, because that's what you work with in terms of food assistance - will be reached with that 3 million to December?"

Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia
"That I can't answer you right off the bat, the food basket was a value - at least since November - of about between 90 to 95 dollars. We haven't made a final decision yet. So, I don't want to let any cats out of the bag. But, I am thinking that if we reduce the value of the package to maybe 75 dollars, we may be able to stretch it a little bit more."

Channel 7

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