Feb 17, 2021 News
– did not address specifics
Kaieteur News – Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon yesterday at his weekly press conference deemed the recently presented 2021 National Budget “a testimony to disarray in government” without diving into specific issues.
In his presentation, Harmon said “What we saw in Budget 2021 was an attempt to reverse the economic, social and other gains the country made and a dismantling of everything connected to the APNU+AFC administration, to return us to the state of a tattered legacy left by [Vice President] Jagdeo in 2011.”
Dr. Ashni Singh, the Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance in his budget speech outlined several objectives to which the budget would address.
Harmon noted that he would provide a brief look at how those objectives are treated while the others would be addressed during the budget debates, but not before saying that the “Budget 2021 is mostly vacuous and meaningless.”
“Budget is meant to be a template for development but is a testimony to disarray in the Government,” he added.
The Finance Minister had outlined government’s COVID objective which was “Navigating COVID-19 for as long as it is around, keeping our population safe, containing further spread, treating those who are infected, providing vaccines as soon as they become available, and reopening the economy progressively and then fully when it is safe to do so.”
But according to the Opposition Leader, the plan for tackling COVID-19 has been “a hodge-podge approach” extracting plans from CARICOM, the US, India but nothing from Guyana’s own experience.
“So we are still to understand how this vaccine will get to the ordinary man and what confidence building measures are being embraced to get to herd immunity,” he continued.
Further, on, Harmon highlighted that the budget speech did not contain “one paragraph on the importance of public servants to the development of the country.”
He then made brief mention of the budget’s mention of the environment, youth treatment and the elderly.
During the question and answer segment, Harmon was asked on what the Opposition would be doing to address pertinent issues in the budget, to which he replied, that the budget is “littered with terminological inexactitudes.”
When asked to clarify what those “terminological inexactitudes” were, this is what Harmon said in response; “This budget is another jet, a jet which the wheels are taken off, the cockpit ain’t functioning and the pilot is flying a dream. The wheels are taken off because they didn’t put the resources in. And this is one part of the government that [Vice President Dr. Bharrat] Jagdeo controls. The cockpit and the mainframe, part of the vision explained by His Excellency and the pilot is [Minister] Ashni Singh who flying around, he isn’t flying anything. So this budget hasn’t even taken off yet and it crash. It has crashed because those elements there are not working together and they do not fit the objective and the vision.”
Caption: Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon. (JOE)
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