Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, was most dismissive of Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, explaining that Jagdeo made no headway with his “nonsensical ramblings.”
Minister Jordan revisited the many budgets he was a part of, on both sides of the House. “So even though I may be a young Parliamentarian, I am an ‘ole head’ and it is the same thing over and over. Nothing speaks to the issues of the day and I am sick of it,” the Finance Minister said.
According to Jordan, the repetitive sterility is not only in the style of Jagdeo, but in the speeches presented by Opposition members during their presentations. He noted that the public’s reaction (to the budget) has been positive and encouraging, serving as conformation that they rejected former President Bharrat Jagdeo’s criticisms of the proposed 2015 Budget.
Jordan spoke into the morning and ended after one, bringing a closure to the 2015 National Budget Debate, even though by this time, Opposition Parliamentarians had walked out, right after Jagdeo’s finished his presentation
Not harping too much on the attitude of the Opposition, nor the criticisms of Jagdeo, Minister Jordan recapped reasons for optimism in his 2015 Budget. Ho noted that one of the key signifiers for a positive look in any budget is the response of the private sector. “The Private Sector Commission (PSC) is pleased with the $221B 2015 fiscal Budget, noting its pleasure that several of its recommendations were taken on board, in the crafting of the 2015 Budget, particularly those that would act as a stimulus to the economy,” Jordan said.
Jordan noted that the PSC had indicated that the allocations to the sugar and rice industries would allow those industries to regroup and recover, so that they can make significant contributions to the economy and that the assistance to small and medium scale miners would also allow the industry, which has produced the bulk of our exports, to adjust to the new reality of lower gold prices.
Jordan also reminded the House that the allocation of funds for roads, bridges, air and river transport, and particularly the rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips, was also welcomed; not only by the PSC, but the general populace as this kind of foresight will undoubtedly boost the integration of hinterland communities into the economic life of the coastland.
In terms of the salary hike, the Minister emphasized that, “everyone welcomes the salary and wage increases for the public service and especially the significant increase in old age pensions. These will undoubtedly provide welcome relief to a large component of the citizenry, as is the case with the decision to lower tolls for the Berbice River Bridge.”
Touching directly on economics, the Finance Minister said the economy registered a 3.8 percent economic growth, not the originally touted 5.6 percent, and not the revised target of 4.5 percent.
Jordan reported that Guyana’s economy is expected to grow by 3.4 % at the end of 2015.
He also, in closing, explained that growth in the first half of 2015, a period when the former Administration controlled the economy, was a miniscule 0.9 %. “The failure of the economy to realize the planned growth rate in 2014, and the below par performance in the first half of this year, is conclusive evidence that the economy had slowed down long.” He emphasized that the data proves that the current APNU+AFC Coalition Government is not the reason for a ‘slowing down’ in business.
Budget 2015 is themed, “A Fresh Approach to the Good Life in a Green Economy”. (GINA)