It seems that crime is down and the country is moving forward, but several other areas of the nation’s economy and the public sector are struggling, which is a major issue, but no solutions are forthcoming.
The state-driven economy is under pressure, ranked low in productivity and regional and global competitiveness, while the public sector is disastrously inefficient and saddled with waste, mismanagement, corruption in almost every area. There is lethargy, absenteeism, and missed deadlines, deterioration, money missing, and yet no one is being held accountable.
The sugar industry which has not been profitable in the past fifteen years remains dependent on government subsidies, which is increasing while revenue is decreasing and the debt is rising. The fishing, bauxite and forestry industries are in a mess. Only the mining industry seems to be pulling its weight.
After 50 years of self-rule, and billions of dollars spent on improving electricity and water supply in the country, yet power outages are still being experienced, especially in the rural areas of the country. Water supply is still unreliable in the city and several communities all across the country are still without adequate supply of potable water. Unfortunately, this is happening in Guyana, the land of many waters.
The nation’s debt and the high cost to service it are mounting, and it is expected that the country will remain financially strapped in the foreseeable future.The government seems to be depending on revenue from the impending sale of oil to offset its financial woes. However, some financial experts have stated that it will take several years for the revenue from oil to ease the country’s financial burden. Others have warned the government that Exxon Mobil will likely recoup most of the money it has already spent on the exploration of oil before any substantial amount of money is paid to the government.
In the past fifteen years, the last administration horrendously wasted billions of dollars on projects, one of which was Amaila Falls which has been aborted. Another is the Skeldon sugar factory, and a third is the Marriott Hotel, which after only two years in operation is in need of repairs that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars.
All of the above projects continue to contribute to the country’s massive debts which will definitely be passed on to the next generation. Since independence, successive governments have spent billions of dollars to improve our health care system, but it remains as inefficient as ever, with every area hospitals and medical clinics in shambles. Most are experiencing a shortage of medications and inadequate and poorly trained medical staff.
So the way forward for us is not for the government to be the provider, owner and manager of private enterprise. This means big government, but the concept of big government which has stifled the nation’s progress for decades has died. Like the developed countries which have efficient economies, effective regulatory agencies and competent management, this government ought to reduce its presence in the private sector and allow it to manage the economy and provide the country’s goods and services.
It is also time for the government to embark on modern technology and employ qualified health and medical personnel to modernize and transform the public health care system which is woefully inadequate and is plagued with countless problems. It is absurd that mothers and babies are still dying during childbirth and that the poor are dying from simple infectious diseases at the public hospitals. The government should consider integrating the public hospitals with some private hospitals, doctors and other health care service providers to make the best health care accessible to every citizen, rich and poor alike.
Integrating the public and private sectors would improve efficiency, boost productivity, increase savings, lower spending, slash the national debt, and reduce taxes and the size of government. Less taxation will increase spending, improve the economy, create employment, especially for the youths who represent 60 percent of the population and maintain social stability. This should be the way forward.
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