Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Dr Irfaan Ali on Thursday revealed that his team has already commenced work to fix the current “decay in our economy” and is hoping that the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) would do the “right thing” to allow the economy to become re-energised.
Ali, during a virtual presentation, painted a gloomy picture of the current state of the economy in which he noted that almost every sector is suffering a major decline and is on the verge of financial collapse.
“We are working now to look at the priorities, how we can cut back expenditures, how can ensure that the productive sector gets back moving…to ensure the downslide is halted so that we can return our economy to vibrancy,” he expressed.
Ali pointed out that all sectors including construction, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism, are suffering the same fate and there is urgent need to put systems in place to fix them.
“What we are seeing in the economy is a contraction in growth,” Ali highlighted.
He promised that his administration: “will ensure the productive sector gets back going, to have the right mix of incentives and measures …to bring back energy to the economy, to reignite construction and to rebuild confidence in Guyana.”
Turning his attention to the sugar industry which is facing a total shutdown due to financial crisis, Ali reminded that the coalition had promised that while some of the estates would be closed, the others would have been offered the necessary support to stay operational.
“The sugar sector is not on the verge of collapsing anymore, but is now in total financial chaos, the government has announced that there is no money for the industry,” Ali related.
In this regard, he promised that efforts to rescue the sugar sector would be made as soon as the PPP/C transitions into government.
The Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had written the caretaker President David Granger on May 15 detailing the firm’s dire financial situation and had appealed for a bailout, but the government responded saying that the treasury is in no position to do so at the moment.
Ali also explained that the “wasteful expenditure” by the Coalition Government “really ballooned up” over the last five years.
“The Government has basically overspent $100 billion, which resulted in the domestic debt skyrocketing and has led to a large fiscal deficit,” Ali highlighted.
Ali also noted that bankruptcy in the household sector is at an all-time high. He explained that as of December 2019, nonperforming loans stood at over $10 Billion and with the current political situation and COVID-19, this situation is expected to worsen.
In terms of the unemployment rate, Ali related this stands at a whopping 25 per cent. He assured that his administration would be providing the necessary support to businesses to reopen, so that people could return to work.
“I want to assure you that we are ready to work with every Guyanese, all stakeholders in moving our country forward, together, for the betterment of all Guyanese,” Ali promised.