Tax-free bonus for health care workers in Guyana

Georgetown – The Guyana government Tuesday announced a two-week tax-free bonus for all health care workers as it praised them for their service to the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“You are doing our country proud . . . and in keeping with my promise and the government’s promise of rewarding you for the work that you’ve been doing, I am pleased today to say that the government has taken a decision to grant an across-the-board tax-free two-week bonus salary for every single health care worker, not just doctors or nurses or frontline workers — for every single health care worker,” President Irfaan Ali said.

He said that while the move will require a lot of resources, his administration is asking for the workers to continue doing their best in support of the citizens.

The bonus will result in approximately GUY$612 million (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) being dished out an estimated 9 200 Guyanese health care workers and complements the seven per cent retroactive bonus they had already received this month.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, said that instructions have been issued for the bonus to be paid before the end of the current week.

Earlier, Singh had indicated that an amount of GUY$400 million had been set aside for the frontline workers in the health sector who have continued to face extenuating circumstances in the daily discharge of their duties, as the country and the world continue to battle the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ali took the opportunity to urge all nationals to get vaccinated against the virus that has so far killed 1 003 people and infected 38 891 since March last year.

“We should not wait for the fast-spreading Omicron variant to reach our shores before we adhere to precautionary measures, including vaccination and taking a booster shot,” Ali said.

He added that “for those who are still not vaccinated, I’m asking you to please, please get vaccinated”.

“This reduces the impact of Omicron and other variants, it reduced hospitalisation, and it reduced death.”

Ali gave the assurance that he has taken the booster shot, done extensive reading on the situation, as well as consulting with medical professionals locally, regionally and internationally.

“We’re seeing more of the countries who are faced with the Omicron variant appealing to citizens to wear their mask. So even before any major impact on us here, we have to take the prevention that is necessary, and I am appealing to all Guyanese, if you’re out [of your homes], please wear your mask, keep your masks on, sanitise your hands, wash your hands, take the precautions, take the vaccines, take the booster — keep those masks on,” he added. (CMC)

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