Sep 25, 2016 Letters
There is tremendous public pressure on the current administration to deliver more jobs, and higher wages in the public sector. The public sector wage issue has its roots buried in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s with the implementation of the Economic Recovery Programme under the aegis of the International Monetary Fund, and subsequent IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Programmes, and it is an absolute certainty that both this and job creation will continue to haunt this and subsequent administrations until properly addressed. Both issues are sore points in the media which need no further address. At issue are appropriate solutions. Both have simple remedies which need to be worked out within a larger policy framework to facilitate dialogue and agreement as a national proposal.
I remember His Excellency, the President, Brigadier (Rtd.) David A. Granger, addressing senior ranks across the ministries on the need to strengthen their technical skills to deliver on the mandate he envisages for his governmenthttp://www.motp.gov.gy/index.php/2015-07-20-18-53-36/1132-president-minister-of-state-engage-permanent-secretaries. He is not off his mark. A hallmark of the former administration was its strategy of underdeveloping the public sector.
Another instance of institutional weakness in delivering on solutions for our economic problems falls directly within the portfolio of President Granger himself. The Bank of Guyana is tasked with advising government on economic policy matters, and the problems that have beset the Bank are exactly those which straddle the government ministries, namely a paucity of technical resources and individuals dedicated to policy formulation and development.
Again, this was all part of the former administration’s plan, since policy, more particularly decisions on expenditure, was developed directly at, or above the Office of the President at the time under the “able” eye of Jagdeo. There was no need for professionals to be engaged in policy development in the ministries or the Bank below the most senior level of these institutions, save contracted cronies.
I have already summarily addressed some of the more pertinent issues within the Bank of Guyana. (https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2016/01/01/demand-greater-accountability-and-transparency-from-the-bank-of-guyana/). Just two months prior to this article, the Honorable Minister of Finance, who was already familiar with the Bank’s issues, was fortunate to secure the services of Dr. Terrence Smith, who has in excess of twenty years of service at the United States Federal Reserve (http://guyanachronicle.com/central-bank-gets-new-deputy/). Both his qualifications and experience immediately qualify Dr. Smith for the post of Governor of the Bank of Guyana, and this is definitely one of the avenues the President should be exploring in strengthening his administration to deliver on the promises made by his government leading up to the elections.
One of the important points the President would not miss, and should not be overly concerned about regarding his actions in respect of the current hierarchy at the Bank, is that the current hierachy’s installation and rise through the Bank was purely political. A certain person was appointed by the former administration, served the interests of that administration, and will continue to do so, should that person remain at the Bank of Guyana. Given that the previous administration’s agenda centered on political patronage, retaining this hierarchical figure will leave more than a few questions unanswered https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2015/04/13/people-must-disregard-ppps-terror-tactics/, https://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2015/03/21/the-economics-of-bharrat-jagdeo-2/.
It is standard practice globally that political appointments are squashed with a change in government, and the current appointment of this top man should be treated no differently. While this may appear to infringe on the Bank’s independence, replacing the Bank’s current political appointee in the present circumstances will in fact restore that independence.
The Bank has suffered enough with the current authority inherited from the PPP regime. To negotiate the kinds of solutions needed to address our current problems, there needs to be a changing of the guard, and the longer this is drawn out, the more time is lost, something which is evidently becoming a festering issue almost with each passing day.
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