From the fall of the People’s Progressive Party – PPP – in May 2015, Guyanese have been fed a daily dose of cynicism, criticism, doom and gloom, via the PPP’s ‘one-man-band’. Daily, the PPP’s dishonesty is on display; its disinformation service disseminates fake news, and stirs-up hate, hostility and hopelessness among the gullible. The PPP’s strategy, in and out of government is to deliberately manipulate certain sections of our society to ensure that they remain, distrustful, disrespectful and scared.
Thankfully, most Guyanese are committed to working towards a unified Guyana. Thankfully, the APNU+AFC Coalition has been making every effort and is committed to working towards a unified Guyana. The government, over the past four years, has worked assiduously to ensure that Guyanese have a better understanding and appreciation of each other, so as to forge consensus and ultimately, a united and developed Guyana. In 2015, several promises were made to the nation, and the administration has kept and continues to keep those promises.
On June 27, 2019 NASDAQ released a ranking of the five fastest growing economies in the world. Guyana topped that list with a 16.3 per cent growth rate over a four-year period, from 2018-2021. As for Guyana’s gross domestic product (GDP) NASDAQ predicts that the 2019 GDP growth rate will be 4.6 per cent and expects that in 2020 and 2021, the economy will grow by 33.5 per cent and 22.9 per cent respectively.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also reported strong predictions for Guyana’s economy. The preliminary results of the Staff Concluding Statement of the 2019 Article IV Mission states that, “Economic growth strengthened in 2018 with broad-based expansion across all major sectors. Real GDP grew by 4.1 percent in 2018, up from 2.1 percent in 2017, led by construction and services sectors.
Inflation remained steady at 1.6 percent at end-2018, on the back of stable food prices and exchange rate. For 2019, the mission projects real economic growth of 4.4 percent, driven by continued strength in the construction and services sectors ahead of oil production in 2020, and strong recovery in mining.”
In March, the Caribbean Development Bank released its Country Economic Review of 2018 for Guyana. It stated that, “economic growth is estimated to have risen in 2018. Based on Ministry of Finance data, GDP grew by 3.4%, compared with 2.2% in 2017. This partly reflected preparation for the first commercial oil production in 2020. Construction activity rose by 12%. Output from other services was up 15%, linked to increased visitor arrivals…Inflation averaged 1.4% in 2018, compared with 1.6% in 2017. The decrease reflected lower price rises for food and for housing.”
Guyana, the CDB says, is on the verge of sharp increase of economic growth in the coming years. Guyana it is clear under the stewardship of the APNU+AFC government is on the right path. So much for gloom and doom.
One of the areas that the Coalition is extremely proud of is our achievements in infrastructure. Under the APNU+AFC government, Guyana’s infrastructure development is finally moving in the right direction. In just four years, we have dramatically improved the country’s infrastructure. Our vision is one Guyana, a country with modern roads, bridges, reliable water and electricity supply, a digital nation; with affordable and secure housing communities where citizens can raise and protect their families – the good life.
During their twenty-three long years in office, the dishonest PPP was happy to let our infrastructure crumble. Its time in office was filled with scandals and failure; Marriott Hotel Scandal, Fibre Optic cable scandal, ignoring hinterland, rural and urban roads, failing to invest in energy infrastructure (especially renewables), failure to build new towns to bring government services to regional capitals; failure to provide access to government services to hinterland communities.
The Coalition government knows that skilled jobs and well-paid jobs – especially for our young people – will come from better infrastructure. It is our vision and we have begun working to create the economy of the future. That is why we are expanding our digital network so that we can create well-paid jobs and highly skilled employment in the service sector.
Several communities now have free internet access at schools and key strategic locations; these include, Aishalton, Annai, Bartica, Bamia, Baramita, Iwokrama, Lethem, Linden, Mabaruma, Matthews Ridge, Orealla, Paramakatoi, Port Kaituma, Santa Rosa and Waramadong. This government has also installed 172 community ICT Hubs in regions two, three, four, five, six, eight, nine and 10, and equipped them with more than 1500 computers.
We have made a start, but there is so much more that needs to be done. Already, we have spent almost $43 billion on expanding roads and bridges. For 2019 we have budgeted $38.5 billion for continued modernisation of our infrastructure.
Upgrading road infrastructure is vital. Over 18Km of urban roads have been completed in New Amsterdam, Georgetown, Linden, Corriverton and Anna Regina; and over 350Km of hinterland roads have been maintained. Over $10 billion has been invested to expand and upgrade main coastal highways to ease congestion, and five pedestrian overpasses along the East Bank of Demerara have been constructed.
The country’s network of aerodromes, stellings and wharves have been improved. The first phase of the Bartica stelling has been completed. The Iwokrama aerodrome has been lengthened from 762 metres to 1219 metres. More than 30 hinterland aerodromes have been rehabilitated and maintained.
As part of the ‘green’ public sector programme, a total of 21,700 LED lamps and 4, 793 occupancy sensors were installed all across Guyana. Currently, over 90% of the country have access to electricity, this is an increase of 4% since 2014. We have installed new oil and diesel plants at Anna Regina (5.5 MW, $1.81B), Bartica 3.5 MW, $800M) and renewable energy projects, including Canefield (5.5MW, $ 1.7B). Solar energy systems have been installed at various locations, including Mabaruma Town.
This is just a small sample of what we have done in the area of infrastructure development to date. Although progress has been made, we are aware that real change is neither quick nor easy to establish; especially after more than two decades of mismanagement, waste, cronyism and systemic corruption by the dishonest PPP. There is still a lot more to be accomplished. However, we are on the right path; together let’s keep moving forward.
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