– worry continues over GuySuco
The ruling party yesterday announced close to five percent growth in the economy, despite a “hostile Parliamentary Oppostion”.
The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), in lauding the current administration’s “enormous strides”, said that the growth would have come despite a harsh global environment and a less than supportive domestic environment.
It was also noted as significant that other economies in the region are reeling under the impact of a downturn which resulted from a global economic and financial crisis.
“What is even more laudable is the fact that the economy performed creditably despite a hostile parliamentary opposition which had been doing and continues to do everything possible to frustrate and destabilize the government’s development agenda by virtue of its one seat majority.”
According to the ruling party, one indicator of a country’s economic health is the buoyancy of the banking and business sectors, both of which have shown impressive growth and expansion. “Foreign direct investments in the economy as well as local investment have increased significantly over the past years which are indicative of growing confidence in the economy.”
Another strong indicator of growth would be the fact that a growing number of Guyanese people are now new homeowners, have cars and other consumer items.
And despite the inflation, public servants have benefited from salary increases on an annual basis “which are larger than the rate of inflation resulting in a bigger and bigger basket of goods and services.”
The party pointed out that while Guyana is looking good; sister Caricom nation Barbados has announced plans to lay off 3,000 public servants.
“Our economy is growing, old age pension has increased, subsidies for water and electricity are given to pensioners, free school uniforms for children and increase in public assistance, while at the same time the Opposition is using their one seat majority to cut funding for these programmes.”
It was emphasised that another significant achievement for the country has been a marked increase in the productive capacity of the economy with rice reaching record levels, passing the 500,000 tonnes mark for the year. The mining sector has also performed well overtaking sugar as the largest foreign exchange earner.
However, PPP expressed worry over the performance of the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), which has continuously failed to meet production targets. This year, sugar is set to fall to 190,000 tonnes, its lowest in over 23 years.
The party called on “all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to turn the industry around. Sugar is still the largest employer of labour and any further decline in sugar production could have disastrous effects on the livelihood and wellbeing of sugar workers and their families.”
The PPP also expressed satisfaction over the macroeconomic stability, exchange and low inflation rates, strong foreign exchange reserves and low interest rates, “all of which are indicative of fiscal discipline and sound monetary policies on the part of the administration.”
Since coming to power in December 2011, the Ramotar administration had been facing a critical Opposition which had a one-seat edge over the ruling party.
Last year, billions were cuts from the budget and the Opposition again this year clipped areas in which it had questions.
Both Government and the Opposition have also been facing a torrid time in the National Assembly with gridlock on key legislation and expenditure, including the Amaila Falls hydro project, the Timehri airport expansion and the specialty hospital.
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