By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Incoming Leader of the Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo has accused the government of tricking the Guyanese people into believing that the increase given to public servants is substantial.
The 2015 budget was presented on August 10 under the theme, “A Fresh Approach To A Good Life In A Green Economy.”
In this regard, Jagdeo believes that Finance Minister, Winston Jordan should rename the theme of the budget to “A fresh start to deteriorating standards of living in a destroyed economy.”
The budget revealed that effective July 1, the basic minimum wages will be increased from $39,540 to $50,000. This translates to a 26.4 percent increase for those still earning the old minimum wage 17.1 percent for over 4,000 public servants earning the current minimum wage of $42,703.”
Additionally, effective July 1, 2015 all other public servants will receive a 5 percent salary increase plus an additional $5,000 monthly. But while Jagdeo welcomed the increase, he criticized the Finance Minister, stating that when these figures are divided by two, given the date it takes effect, it means that it will only be an increase of 7.5% for those earning $50,000 and 5% for those earning $100,000.
“These are even lower than what the People’s Progressive Party gave in the past. So, Jordan has played a clever sleight of hand; a three card trick on people. At the end of the day, the public servants are not going to take home 15% who earned $50,000; they are going to take home 7 1/2 percent for this year. He has duped the entire nation,” Jagdeo told a news conference on Tuesday, August 11.
The former President also chastised the Finance Minister for not sticking to economics during his budget presentation but rather sought to “disparage everything the PPP did in the past.”
“I think he suffered a bit of schizophrenia because in many instances, he started off by praising the past and then concluded that it was all PPP morass and stench of corruption and everything that led to this wonderful past.”
Jagdeo made it known that the PPP will be taking up its seats in Parliament on Monday, August 17 when the debates are set to commence. He says he is shocked that Jordan could present a $221 billion budget, which is one billion more than last year, when the coalition claimed Guyana was bankrupt because of PPP corruption.
Meanwhile, he also noted that while it is good the government waived taxes for vehicles for the security sector it will not stimulate the economy. The PPP, he says, is in support of the monies given to the sugar industry and those allocated for the payment of rice farmers.