By Omar Bah
At least 6427 individuals working in the informal sector of the tourism industry and laid off staff from the sector will earn $50 each from the UNDP Covid-19 relief funds.
The relief package is in response to an assessment conducted by GBoS in collaboration with GTBoard through the United Nations Development Programme’s support on the impact of Covid-19.
The tourism industry is hardest hit as employees and small-scale enterprise owners lost jobs, income and livelihoods.
“Realizing the urgent need to provide assistance to the hard-hit tourism industry workers, it was agreed after protracted discussions that a one-off cash transfer of $50 will be made to all the identified beneficiaries who could be reached within the prescribed time and could come up with valid Africell mobile numbers,” the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said although upon verification of the list of identified beneficiaries in the Rapid Response Assessment report, it held the view that a good number of Tourism industry workers were left out in the assessment that should be considered, further discussions between UNDP and GBoS could not change the situation.
Africell, the agency identified by UNDP to make the cash transfers through AfriMoney, was recommended to make the transfer to 6572 beneficiaries, but they said they could verify 6427 beneficiaries.
The sum of D16,837,867.50 was remitted by UNDP directly to Africell’s account on 28 August 2020 and the list of beneficiaries sent to the latter for necessary action.
“The cash transfer will commence within the next few days and the beneficiaries referred to above will receive the one-off payment of $50.This operation is a Gambia Government owned endeavour and the Government of The Gambia is extremely grateful to UNDP for providing this support through an MoU with Africell,” the ministry said.
The ministry said there is “no condition attached to the use of the funds. It belongs to the beneficiaries and can be used to address any personal needs”.