The low ranking which the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom report gave on Guyana again came in for another heavy criticism by President Bharrat Jagdeo, who said that it emanated from, a right-wing and hostile organisation called the Heritage Foundation.
Appearing in a Kaieteur News article on April 29, the report said Guyana’s economic freedom score is 48.4 making its economy the 153rd freest in the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom.
According to the report, Guyana is ranked 27th out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is well below the world and regional averages.
Elaborating on the report while at Cotton Tree West Bank Berbice, for the commissioning of a new Water Treatment Plant, on Friday, the President explained that from all indications, the report is not in favour of expansion in the economy.
“If you expand the size of the public sector or public sector spending, you get low marks from them. If you expand investments in water like we are doing today you get low marks. If you expand spending in health care and education… then it doesn’t matter to them,” President Jagdeo said.
The President reiterated that he is least interested in the demeaning reports which also took a swipe at the United States President Barack Obama and other western leaders for introducing the stimulus package that prevented world from a ‘catastrophic melt-down.’
“I don’t care about these indices, I care about the welfare of people. The State will continue to invest in people; in education, health, water and the things that make people more comfortable; in the hydropower that will bring more stable electricity and lower electricity rates to people,” President Jagdeo said.
In his first public response to the Freedom of Economic Index report, the President chided the local newspaper which published the article for its profound lack of understanding and analytical work of how the index is composed.
“When we read the newspapers… what we need are literate reporters and editors to analyse these indices in an objective way and whether they are appropriate to our development,” President Jagdeo said.
The Freedom of Economic Index report stressed that Guyana ’s overall score remains the same as last year because improvements in three of the 10 economic freedoms were offset by a decline in investment freedom and property rights.
President Jagdeo however, pointed to the report of the International Monitory Fund (IMF) which credited Guyana as having one of the best managed economies in the crisis year. Reference was also made to the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) report which gave Guyana an above average score on sixteen of the seventeen indices.
The Guyana Threshold Country/Implementation Plan (GTCP/IP) was completed in February this year after a two year assessment.
The MCC Threshold Programme assists countries that are on the threshold of eligibility for Millennium Challenge Account Compacts. The threshold programme is used to assist countries to address the specific policy weaknesses indicated by the country’s scores on 16 policy indicators in three categories – ruling justly, investing in people and encouraging economic freedoms.
The GTCP/IP focused on reducing Guyana ’s fiscal deficit by improving its ability to collect revenue and better manage its budget, improved parliamentary oversight, reducing the number of days and cost to start a business by streamlining business registrations.(GINA)
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