Former Attorney General and Opposition Member of Parliament, Anil Nandlall on Friday, during his contribution to Budget 2019, blasted the Coalition Government for which he calls “vampiring the people of Guyana”.
In a fiery presentation, Nandlall lashed out at the Government for feeding ‘lies’ to the people in trying to convince them that through Budget 2019 they wiill enjoy the ‘good life’ when in fact they (Government) are taking away from the citizens due to the heavy tax burden thay are faced with.
Nandlall disclosed that the coalition Government is expected to collect from Guyanese some $224B in taxes for 2019.
“Tax to be collected is $224B that is $52B more than in 2015…that is what they plan to collect form these people; that is all that I can tell them that the budget have for them…Minister Jordan still has to borrow $41.5B still after vampiring from the people over $52B” Nandlall argued.
Additionally, according to the MP, the current state of the banking sector is a clear indication of what has happened to Guyana’s economy over the past four years. He noted that not only is the Bank of Nova Scotia pulling out its operations, but now the Bank of Baroda has made a similar announcement.
It was reported in a section of the media that the Mumbai, India-headquartered bank is currently seeking investment bankers for the sale/disinvestment of Bank of Baroda’s entire 100 percent stake in the Bank of Baroda (Guyana) Inc.
The entire process will be a quick one since documents revealed that the final day for submissions of financial proposal will be on December 27.
According to Nandlall, Guyanese are worse off than they were in 2014 while no policies or development are in the pipeline for their betterment.
“We squandered $1 trillion for nonproductive policies and programs in this country… look at the capital projects, all of them executed over the past three years are PPP projects, the East Coast Demerara Highway, works at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, the Sheriff Street road, the East Bank Demerara expansion…that is the reality…Patterson cant seriously argue that the overpass and roundabout are projects of worth, they are not…” the MP revealed.
Further, he said: “They have doubled the national debt, foreign reserves are at low levels that it has ever been, imposed 200 tax measures on the backs of Guyanese people, reduction of import and exports, closed sugar factories, decline in every productive sector…businesses have closed…Guyana is weak as it has ever been…I hate to paint such a dismal picture but that is the reality of what has transpired over the past 4 years and to which this Government has remain oblivious… this budget is sophistically packaged to trick the Guyanese people into thinking that it holds the good life” .
As it relates to the oil and gas sector, Nandlall argued that the Coalition Government started out with a most lopsided deal with ExxonMobil.
He noted that in the entire budget presentation by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, he failed to make mention of any bill including the Petroleum Bill which will ensure that Guyanese get their fair share.
Touching on foreign investments, Nandlall stated that the budget does nothing to make Guyana an attractive investment climate.
“We know that the incentive schemes that were established under the PPP/C Administration for both foreign and local investments, have all been dismantled. In fact, many of these investors are currently being hounded by the GRA to recover concessions granted under the previous Government” he explained.
As it relates to the Legal Sector, the former Attorney General noted that the Government continues to talk about the rule of law which they claim is a backbone of any society, yet they are not adhering to said rule of law.
“The institution of contrived and concocted charges against your political opponents is not only vindictive, petty politics, but it is an assault on the rule of law… the Attorney General Chambers is clearly devoid of any programmatic plan to which one can advert. So, it is almost impossible to examine the performance of this agency. Work appears to be done on an ad hoc and a piecemeal manner,” Nandlall said.
The Budget, according to the MP, is simply a compendium of highly questionable data and a recitation of projects and policies sophistically packaged with the intention of deceiving the Guyanese people into believing that it will transform the economy, empower them and build sustainable communities for the good life.