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Brazil & Southern Cone - August 2020

Economic Highlights

PARAGUAY| Financial aid to prioritise border region. Paraguay’s finance ministry confirmed on 4 August the implementation of a second version of the ‘Pytyvõ’ social aid programme, launched earlier this year to help the most economically vulnerable weather the effects of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Where the Pytyvõ (meaning ‘to help’ in Guaraní) programme provided a basic emergency income to the country’s informal workers, Pytyvõ 2.0 will provide financial aid aimed specifically for the purchase of foodstuffs from the basic basket of goods, as well hygiene and cleaning products. With US$125m earmarked for Pytyvõ 2.0, it will be available to informal workers, the self-employed, and employees of micro-, small, and medium-sized companies which have seen their income affected by the pandemic. The finance ministry’s director of economic studies, Carmen Marín, explained that the programme aims to reach 700,000 people, but that priority will be given to 120,000 people from cities in the Alto Paraná department which borders Brazil. Restrictions on movement and closed borders have taken a particularly heavy toll on Paraguay’s border region (one of the worst-hit by the pandemic in the country), where economic activity relies on cross-border trade with Brazil. The situation has prompted protests in July in Ciudad del Este, the capital of Alto Paraná, where locals demanded that the national government relax restrictions.            

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