BY MICHAEL YOUNGE
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo says that a “textbook” economic ideology will have no impact on the country’s declining economic bill of health regardless of the continuous Government rhetoric about creating economic growth.
Jagdeo, speaking at a recent media conference in the boardroom of the headquarters of the Peoples Progress Party Civic on Robb Street, dubbed the A Partnership for Nationality Unity and Alliance for Change Government’s new approach to key economic matters as “lazy”.
He said that despite the half-year statistics released by the Finance Ministry, the economy was still sluggish, slow and facing massive challenges which if not handled properly could have redounding negative effects on the poorest of the country’s poor, its business sector and the working class.
Jagdeo, a former president, warned the Government to set out a clearly defined economic strategy that could inspire private sector growth and development in order to attract higher levels of domestic and foreign investments while boosting the levels of spending.
He said that attempts by the new Ministry of Business in this respect were “unrealistic” as he explained the impact one of its recent announcements could have doing business in Guyana and the country’s ability to attract more investment given its Anti-Money Laundering ranking.
Jagdeo recalled the Minister of Business Dominic Gaskin’s utterances about the need for due diligence to become mandatory for all investors coming to Guyana.
“He has not defined what would be the parameters of this due diligence…so it sounds good text book-wise but it’s another hurdle to businesses coming to Guyana”, the opposition leader posited.
He said that unless this is done, this will only lead to more complications while questioning why the same approach was not undertaken by the new Government for many of those they had recruited to head departments and State agencies from abroad.
“But isn’t it hypocritical that they want due diligence on investment and did not do due diligence on the man that they brought back to head the Georgetown Public Hospital Board who is convicted for drugs now…they didn’t do due diligence on another person hired at GWI who has been convicted twice in the US for drug dealing”, he told reporters.
He also criticised Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo’s recent announcement that “someone approached him to invest”. The Prime Minister said also that things were headed in the right direction as the economic status of the country was concerned.
Calling Nagamootoo a post office prime minister, Jagdeo said that that announcement was a publicity stunt as everyone knows that the Government is taking a beating for the poor state of the economy.
“Imagine you are announcing not even the investment or the application for the investment…this man has absolutely nothing to do…And so this is not how you are going to change the economy. The country is hurting and poor people are losing their jobs…Its right across the country”, he remarked.
He said too that “every week we come here and we lament this issue because we are hoping to move the Govt to action….”.
The Opposition Leader also felt that bringing early budgets would offer no relief to the populace unless their projects are fully implemented and are structured on the pillars of realism.