The UN is pushing for temporary basic income for 2.7bn people as COVID-19 response
July 23, 2020 –The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called for a temporary basic income for the world’s 2.7 billion poor people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UNDP said the measure could stem the spread of the virus by allowing those living below or just above the poverty line in 132 developing countries to stay home.
According to the UN agency, seven out of ten workers in poorer nations currently earn money through informal markets and cannot afford to stay home.
“Unprecedented times call for unprecedented social and economic measures.
“Introducing a Temporary Basic Income for the world’s poorest people has emerged as one option.
“This might have seemed impossible just a few months ago.
Achim Steiner, UNDP administrator said “a Temporary Basic Income might enable governments to give people in lockdown a financial lifeline, inject cash back into local economies to help keep small businesses afloat, and slow the devastating spread of COVID-19”.
The agency estimates it would cost at least 199 billion dollars per month to provide such a time-bound, guaranteed basic income.
It could be financed by repurposing existing resources, such as fossil fuel subsidies.
Countries could repurpose the funds they would use this year to service their debt to pay for the grant, UNDP said.
“A comprehensive debt standstill for all developing countries, as called for by the UN Secretary-General, would allow countries to temporarily repurpose these funds into emergency measures to combat the effects of the COVID-19 crisis,” the agency said
The Humanitarian Posts reports that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the global economy and the livelihood of a lot of people.
Statistics have shown that a large number of the World’s population live on less than $2 a day, with daily earnings as means of livelihood.
The Coronavirus pandemic has however limited or stopped their means of livelihood, thereby having no means of survival, as a lot of people have been forced to stay at home to curb the spread of the virus.
The UNDP’s call for basic income to assist affected and vulnerable populations will go a long way in ameliorating their sufferings.