Opposition Leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is now calling the 2019 Budget a “total spin” noting that the $300.7 Budget presented on Monday last is no different from the others presented by the APNU/AFC coalition Government.
According to the General Secretary of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), the budget has continued its trend of massively increasing recurrent expenditures, with little increases in capital expenditures.
Speaking at his weekly press briefing at his Church Street, Georgetown Office, Jagdeo said that Monday’s Budget Estimates will reveal the hypocrisy of the “great 2019 Budget”.
The former President asserted that after careful examination and analysis of the budget, it was unearthed that the Government machinery is in a total ‘spin mode’.
The Opposition leader revealed that billions of dollars have been added to the Government’s “unimportant wants” while little has been provided for the productive sectors such as education, security and health.
According to Jagdeo, the Indigenous People’s Affairs Ministry, policy development expenditure continued to decline from the year 2017. In that year, $1.331B was awarded in the budget, $1.183B in 2018 and in 2019 $815M, which shows a decline of more than $500M from 2014.
Capital expenditures for the Agriculture in 2018 was $4.6B and in 2019 is $4.614B which shows a $12M increase, $1.8B of which will be coming in from foreign sources.
The Public Infrastructure Ministry in 2017 received $29.3B, in the budget, in 2018 $24.1B, and in 2019, $26B.
The Opposition Leader noted that the Child Care and Protection Agency (CH&PA) has seen a massive decline, receiving $80M compared to $165M in 2018’s budget.
An increase of $1.425B was awarded in the budget for the entire regions across Guyana for only five of their programmes.
However, compared to this, Jagdeo noted that Government has increased expenditures in the non-essential areas by some $13.5B.
“These areas have seen the biggest growth under Government…$13.5B increase in these ten areas that I consider not essential” the Opposition Leader said.
There have been massive growth in expenditures used for celebration of national events which have moved from $430M in 2018 to $675M in 2019.
Making reference to some of the non essential areas, the Opposition Leader posited that “dietary is now $2.203B dollars per year, other operating expenses is $1B higher, local travel has increased by $1B, vehicles service by $645M and other transports by $519M, rental of buildings by $827M, security services for Government officials have increased by $2.617B, $595M increases for equipment and $3.397B for other goods and services.”
According to the Jagdeo “We are spending more for other goods than in the major sectors in Guyana…they prefer to spend more on eating and rental than on public security, education and drug purchases…the budget estimates, that is what you have to go to when you want to look at what is happening”.
Further, Jagdeo ripped apart the high hopes that Guyanese were given by Finance Minister Jordan who spent 30 minutes during the budget presentation to share Government’s vision for several major infrastructural developments.
The General Secretary said that road projects inclusive of the Linden- Lethem road, the Mabura to Brazil road, the Linden Airdome , the Soesdyke/Linden road rehabilitation, the Diamond/Grive road extension, the new Demerara Harbour Bridge will take many years to be realised, if it will ever be realised.
According to Jadgeo, “these things look good on the surface but when you go through the dynamics of how they were, it is foolishness…the budget has nothing for poor people, will not stimulate the economy, it cannot be the framework for the development of Guyana…if you tax people more, then you are just using their money and they are left with the little pittances…they missed the bus on this budget…this is all falsehood…this is what APNU does well”. (Kizzy Coleman)