Jul 20, 2020 News
Upon analyzing statistics recently published by the Bank of Guyana, Financial Analyst, Sasenarine Singh is of the firm conviction that under the coalition administration, Guyana has witnessed the most alarming instances of “squandermania.”
In a letter to the press, Singh highlighted that total current expenditure between April 2015 and March 2020 was $938.3 billion. He was keen to note that this is a 65 percent increase in current expenditure under Granger compared to the previous five years under the PPP/C.
Singh said that this situation can only be described as “squandermania” while noting that it helps to explain why the government’s main checking account – the public deposit at the Bank of Guyana, now has an overdraft of over (minus) $91 billion as at June 24, 2020, compared to real cash left in that account by the PPP/C Government at the end of March 2015 totaling (positive) $15 billion.
Further to this, Singh said it should not escape the attention of the public that there was an 88 percent increase in rental and maintenance of buildings and state-owned properties and infrastructure.
The PPP aligned member also noted that there was a 57% increase in personnel cost which he said was mainly to facilitate a massive army of “high priced political flunkies” all over the state establishment.
The Financial Analyst also expressed with great certainty that when the history books are written and the performance of the political leadership in the Ministry of Finance is evaluated, Singh posited that it will, without question, secure an “F” grade.
While Singh and other stakeholders with close ties to his party share these views, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan recently noted in the press that accusations of “squandermania” are nothing but malicious claims against the Granger administration.
Jordan said that while expenditures have increased, as is to be expected, these have been in the context of strategic plans and developmental needs.
Expounding further, the Finance Minister pointed out that prudent financial management has ensured that the fiscal deficit over the past five years, has remained within the bounds of what is expected of the country at this stage of development.
He was keen to note as well that the Government responded positively to meet the needs of its people, as evidenced by the budgeted numbers for current expenditure growing by 30.1 percent and capital expenditure by 32.8 percent, from 2016 to 2019.
The Finance Minister also pointed out that increases in current expenditure were largely attributed to increases in wages and salaries, old-age pensions and social assistance. Expounding in this regard the economist said, “For instance, total employment costs increased by 40.6 percent in 2019, when compared with 2016, reaching $70.9 billion in 2019, with significant growth in the public sector minimum wage.
The increases led to higher household income, particularly among those earning within the lowest income brackets, thereby reducing poverty. The public sector minimum wage (also) increased by over 70 percent between 2015 and 2019, to reach $70,000.”
In addition to this, Jordan said that expenditure on old-age pensions and social assistance increased by 26.4 percent in 2019 when compared with 2016, reaching $14.8 billion. Jordan also noted that between 2015 and 2019, old-age pensions increased by 56.2 percent to reach $20,500.
With these and other factors in mind, the Finance Minister said that the Government is unapologetic in pursuing a policy to redress the historical wrong and neglect of those most in need.
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