Nov 28, 2017 News
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo was quick to criticise yesterday’s budget presentation by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, as one of the most disastrous presentations, which failed on every standard to address key issues at the national level.
Addressing the media a few minutes after the budget presentation, Jagdeo stated that persons were expecting a budget presentation that addressed job growth, welfare, youth and a framework for growth and development.
He said there was also an expectation that the Minister would have provided clarity about the government’s vision on different areas and present on ‘big picture issues’ about where the country is going.
“Pathetic is the single word that I can use to describe the measures the Minister of Finance has presented. There is nothing here that inspires,” said Jagdeo, a former president and Minister of Finance under the People’s progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C). He explained that there is nothing that says to the private sector that Government is partnering with the worker and if you work harder you will get support from the Government.
“There is nothing to say from any group of Guyanese, whether you’re a young person, whether you are a pensioner, a child going to school, a farmer, a bauxite worker or a public servant, that I have a better year to look forward to based on this budget. There is absolutely nothing in it.”
He said that revenue continues to outgrow the gross domestic product which proves that the economy is not performing well. According to Jagdeo, public debt is on the rise and the Government continues to heavily tax Guyanese. They had complained about the implementation of taxes under the PPP regime.
Jagdeo also pointed to the promise made by the Finance Minister prior to the budget presentation of no new taxes, but yesterday announced plans to undertake a nationwide property valuation exercise which will result in residents paying more in rates and taxes at the local Government level.
“The Minister of Finance seemed to take his presentation from almost every single ministry, their routine work programme, and read their work programmes out to the nation. Things that are day-to-day work that you don’t even focus on in a budget presentation were elevated in the National Assembly, to plans,” Jagdeo stated.
Promises of jobs and promises about doubling old age pension, which were all part of the coalition government’s manifesto prior to the 2015 general elections, were highlighted as continued failures. Jagdeo said that it is unacceptable that Government has offered to add a $500 increase to pensioners next year which equates to just two percent over the 2017 figures.
“This is a budget that falls way below low expectations. It is unimaginative.
It is torturous. It dealt with elevating routine work programmes of ministries into national prominence and they missed sight of what is important for Guyana. It does not provide a clear picture of where we are going and supportive policies to take us there,” Jagdeo noted.
PPP Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, pointed out to reporters that her party had submitted a Motion to the Parliament with over 30 measures to stimulate the economy, but the Motion continues to float between the offices of the Speaker and Clerk of the National Assembly.
The PPP/C plans to participate in the budget debate from December 4.
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