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National Security Minister Stuart Young makes a contribution during yesterday’s sitting of Parliament.

Government has decided to “bring on board” international company Gas Strategies to assist with its gas value chain amid the ill-effects from current global issues plus the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Security Minister Stuart Young, who confirmed the situation in Parliament yesterday, said Cabinet took the decision at Thursday’s meeting. Young replied on behalf of Energy Minister Franklin Khan, who was absent due to illness.

Yesterday in Parliament, United National Congress whip David Lee had noted the collapse of oil and gas prices and global economic downturn, all significantly affecting the local downstream industry. Lee asked if the Government would be willing to offer short term relief pricing measures as requested by the downstreamers to protect the energy industry and to save thousands of jobs.

Young said the global energy situation is in a dire position, not only with oversupply but also dealing with low demand due to the pandemic. He said the request to offer a short term relief pricing measure was noted and the National Gas Company is working closely with Government and having active talks with downstream players. Talks on gas are also on with upstreamer suppliers, he added.

While no concessions have been given, he said Government has been working on the relationship with companies and “very active conversations” are occurring, hopefully with productive effects.

According to its website, Gas Strategies, based in London, provides a range of energy-industry related consultancy services, including investment and divestment decisions, project development support and data services.

Also suffering ill-effects from the COVID lockdown, UNC’s Cumuto Manzanilla MP Christine Newallo-Hosein said 1,000 families in her area haven’t gotten food assistance due to slow processes.

Social Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis said it was recognised some families in the School Feeding Programme didn’t get Foodcards from their MPs. She reiterated measures to cater to those who didn’t receive. This included Food hampers and vouchers for food support. Those who didn’t get Foodcards – 79,000 – also received $510 for three months. Market boxes will be given to regional corporations to distribute. Religious bodies are also distributing COVID relief.

To date, 19,9992 out of a total of 20,500 Foodcards were delivered in batches of 500 each to MPs to distribute.

Robinson-Regis detailed conditions to which religious groups had to agree to receive the funding which Government is giving them to distribute to needy people. It involves a range of accounting procedures ranging from giving monthly reports on numbers who received their assistance and how much, to record-keeping, including demographic information on people who got assistance.

Religious groups will have to keep some records for three years.