Jan 22, 2023 Editorial
Kaieteur News – According to Dr. Ashni Singh, Minister of Finance, $208.9B is set to be withdrawn from Guyana’s Natural Resource Fund (NRF) for 2023 budgetary purposes. This NRF contribution is slightly over 25% of this year’s budget, and it is to be used for “national development priorities.” In a country where transparency and accountability have been reduced to political vulgarities, there is this additional mystery of “national development priorities” which is the perfect camouflage for any degree of skullduggery. There are two things to be said with what is happening with oil money already withdrawn, and more of it to be drawn down as this year progresses.
What was feared is now coming to pass, both before our eyes, and mostly behind the backs of the people, the Guyanese who own this oil wealth. To their faces, Guyanese are informed of how much of their oil income is to be withdrawn, but after that there is silence and blankness. Behind their backs, there is the emptiness of not knowing what is really going on with their oil money. How it is spent, for which projects specifically and to what extent, and who are the beneficiaries, the ones feeding off from this massive $208.9B to be taken out of the NRF. If this is all citizens are going to be told, the sum of what they should know, then Guyanese are in for deep trouble.
For the NRF is being targeted, with any manner of perverse political scheme in mind, on how to misuse it, abuse it, and overuse it employing any and every ruse. As said, “national development priorities” function as the broadest, best possible disguise that could be manufactured. They could cover an abundance of good, or they can come to represent a litany of thievery. In some shape or form, “national development priorities” would include a variety of expensive infrastructure projects. Guyanese need neither introduction nor schooling on what infrastructure projects mean in the local environment. Our history with costly public works projects under every Government has been of chronic robberies and endless swindles. Now with $208.9B in NRF money to play with, the crookedness and corruptions are ready to rise to a still higher level here.
One leading Guyanese Politician has asserted that a quarter of Guyana’s infrastructure budget money would be gobbled up by corrupt practices of the PPPC Government and its cabal of criminal conspirators. It is our position at this publication that he has it wrong, in that his percentage (25%) is on the low side. When we start considerations about how much of infrastructure money is swallowed by criminality, it is constructive to start higher, like somewhere around 40%, at a minimum. In any manner that this is looked at (more loans taken, oil money withdrawn), it is the citizens of this country who pay a harsh price, end up losing at each turn. The oil money, $208.9B of it, is being snatched under our noses by a cunning PPPC Government, with Guyanese not tasting much of any benefit from it.
For the second point of note is that this huge amount is to be withdrawn this year from the NRF, and Guyanese scrambling to keep their heads above water are on their own. They are not even thrown a little lifeline by the PPPC Government for them to grasp at, to help them to manage with dignity, to give them a few rays of hope. This oil brings so much promise, holds out so much hope, and mean so much, but Guyanese have been condemned to the breadline and poverty line and soup kitchen line. We are the richest and the biggest in almost everything, but our stomachs are gnawing from the pangs of hunger, our clothes are tattered, and our children without. This is where the people of Guyana are, where this fabled oil wealth has dumped us.
Almost a quarter trillion dollars is scheduled to be taken out of the NRF, and the priorities will be sand, stone, steel, and cement and concrete and corruption. Not how it can help with spiraling prices and punishing cost-of-living. Unlike the 70s and 80s, Guyana has oil and billions today. No Guyanese should be without!
Pres. Ali begging for loans!!
Feb 03, 2023Kaieteur News – The Guyana Squash Association (GSA) local calendar started on Wednesday with the first international Squash tournament – the BCQS Squash Masters. This tournament consists...
By Sir Ronald Sanders (The writer is Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Organization... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]