Cabinet has approved an increase of EC$5.00 for persons on the Public Assistance Programme who are currently receiving EC$275, to ensure that they are not disadvantaged when using the newly implemented reloadable Automated Teller Machines (ATM) cards.
Acting Prime Minister Montgomery Daniel, during a media briefing on December 1, announced the switch from cash payments to the reloadable ATM card payments being implemented by the Ministry of National Mobilisation.
The increase to $280 will allow recipients to withdraw all of their money, if they so wish, when using the card. This is in light of the fact that ATMs only issue 20-, 50- and 100-dollar notes.
The cash method of payment costs the state EC$22,290 monthly or EC$267, 480 per year Daniel explained. He said the new payment method will cost the state EC$833 monthly or an average of EC$10,000 dollars annually.
“It’s important to note that this is indeed a savings to the government. Therefore, the Ministry of Social Development will be looking at a smoother transition to the reloadable card payments for public assistance beneficiaries which is necessary to reduce the operating expenses and risks associated with the cash method,” the minister explained.
The Acting Prime Minister said not only will this method be cost effective, but it will also provide financial freedom opportunities for the beneficiaries. He said the government is offering a safer way for the beneficiaries of assistance to receive their monies on a monthly basis.
Daniel also thanked Minister of Social Development Dr Orando Brewster and his ministry officials for the work they have been doing in meeting the social needs of the disadvantaged, as well as the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines for being a part of the new service delivery.(API)