ECLAC Proposes Granting a 'Basic Emergency Income' to the Poor


(TELESUR) – Cash transfers to meet basic needs will be crucial to achieving economic recovery.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Secretary Alicia Barcena Wednesday called on governments to ensure an “Emergency Basic Income” (EBI) for the entire population to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic’s socioeconomic impacts.

This UN agency proposes that Latin American governments guarantee immediate temporary cash transfers to meet basic needs and sustain household consumption, which will be crucial to achieving a solid and relatively rapid economic recovery.

In the long term, this emergency policy could become the first step towards the establishment of the “Universal Basic Income” (UBI), a proposal that would guarantee the right to survival of poor and vulnerable people.

“We have calculated that it could cost around 2 percent of GDP and I do not think it is too much when we see that tax evasion levels are 6.3 percent of GDP,” Barcena said and added that “there are countries that can do so. It would only require political will.”