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Government Approves More Cash Handouts To Struggling Families


Armenia -- Labor and Social Affairs Minister Zaruhi Batoyan at a news conference in Yerevan, April 2, 2020.

The Armenian government approved on Thursday cash payments to more people who have been hit hard by economic disruptions resulting from the coronavirus epidemic.

The fresh financial assistance will be provided to the underage children of those Armenians who had no officially registered jobs or businesses or did not receive poverty benefits when the unprecedented shutdowns began on March 12. Their parents will receive 26,500 drams ($52) per child.

The government already allocated on Monday 68,000 drams to registered workers who have lost their jobs during the crisis. The employees of hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, clothing stores and other businesses closed since March 13 will be paid up to 136,000 drams.

The government initially planned no such one-off payments to people involved in the informal sector of the Armenian economy.

Labor and Social Affairs Minister Zaruhi Batoyan said the government will now also help “those citizens who could not benefit from the measures announced by us” earlier. Speaking during a cabinet meeting in Yerevan, she gave no estimates as to the number of the new recipients of the government aid.

As part of its efforts to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown, the government also decided last week to allocate grants to many private firms and subsidize commercial bank loans to small businesses and farmers.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Thursday that this aid package “will help hundreds of thousands of our compatriots to overcome this crisis.”

Pashinian’s political opponents have dismissed these measures as insufficient.

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