After one year since the government came to office, many things in the country, it seems, are not adding up. Only some of the promises made by the government were kept. One not kept was the lowering of VAT by two percent.
The Minister of State fiasco has affected the good image of the government particularly since the President and some Ministers have supported him. The Minister’s refusal to meet with the media and provide a plausible explanation to the public on the alleged allegations involving his relationship with the “BK” Tiwarie and BaiShanLin has left the nation second guessing that things are not adding up.
By refusing to explain the controversy, especially the interference with a central state agency, the Guyana Revenue Authority, shows that the government is not serious about being accountable to the public.
The President should lead the way in clearing up the very serious misgivings about the Minister, and the government’s failure to develop the economy, create jobs and reduce crime and corruption. It matters not to the people who is responsible for the current malaise that has beset the country. The people simply want to know how the government intends to solve the problems and take the country forward.
Not in the too distant past, Guyana has been known to be the bread basket of the Caribbean, where corruption and crimes were outside the norm of its daily existence; so too were smelly piles of garbage in the city and the run down infrastructures.
Similarly, Guyana’s education and health care systems were held up as models for the countries in the Caribbean. Today, this is no longer the case as most of the institutions are not functioning properly; one in three people have to pay a bribe before service is rendered to them.
Most of the Social Programmes are hardly working; and on the odd occasion that some do, they are ineffective. With a slowdown in national productivity, the government has precious little to show for being in office for a year other than the cleaning-up of Georgetown, the restoration of Merriman Mall, a ballooning deficit, murders and armed robberies. Not to mention that Ministers hardly speak to the people; and when they do, it is in such pretentious terms that the average person does not believe anything they say.
The recent statement by the Minister of Finance that the economy will grow at three percent in 2016 may not materialize. If the people are to take the Minister at his word, and there is no reason not to, it would seem that the economy is slowing. The Government needs to implement a comprehensive monetary programme that includes strong fiscal adjustment and structural reforms to foster growth and reduce the external debt.
It is true that the country’s overall deficit fell by about two percent at the end of last year and its foreign reserves have stabilized somewhat; but there’s still a big problem in terms of the Government’s overall debt which is hovering at 65 percent of its GDP. Therefore, it is important for the government to reduce its current excessive spending because things are not adding up.
The people would like to know the game plan going forward, now that the jubilee celebrations are over and the country has returned to normalcy. They would welcome any new ideas from either the President or the Minister of Finance that can improve their well-being and put them at ease.
After all, the people who elected the government know that after a year in office, its current policies are not alleviating some of the major problems that beset the country. Things are not adding up.
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