EYEWITNESS: Economics…


…and IMF

Contrary to its protestations, the IMF hasn’t been noted for its concern for the poor and the powerless since it was formed after WWII. They say, “To the victor goes the spoils”, and the US and Western Europe explicitly formed the IMF and the World Bank to ensure they’d be able to divvy up the world economy under the guise of “development”.

They were “neo-liberal” even before the world knew about neo-liberalism!! It’s for good reason that Burnham spelled out the “IMF” acronym as “International Mother F*****R”.

But that was then — when we were all ex-colonies running around with our begging bowls. Since then, many Third World countries, like China, are now in the driver’s seat! India didn’t only turn the tables to divvy up cricketing funds, but big ones like Britain and several countries had to turn to the IMF to bail them out from their financial travails. And, of course, the IMF had to deal with them differently – family and all that.

And since then – to save their face – they’ve had to shed some crocodile tears when prescribing their usual harsh medicine for us in the Third World.

Be that as it may, it’s interesting to compare their comment to our supposedly caring government when they recently examined our economy: “Staff supports the authorities’ efforts to overhaul the sugar industry. Given its large social impact, it is important to provide a safety net to protect those affected by that process. That, plus the time it will take for efficiency gains to materialize, will substantially limit the fiscal gains in the short-term. These efforts may well entail upfront costs that are larger than the costs of continuing to muddle through.”

In other words, even the cold-hearted International Mother F*****R agrees with the Government’s Commission of Inquiry: that yes, the sugar industry must be overhauled and privatised or diversified…but the Government has to take into consideration the SOCIAL IMPACT.

They insist that Government must provide a “safety net” to the affected workers; Not throw them to the wolves, as they’ve done.

Both organisations accept that the costs in the near term would be large; and in fact LARGER than the present “subsidies” to “muddle through”. But, in the long term, this will be best for everyone involved — the corporation; the people; and yes, even the Government.

Surely this Government understands it has severely damaged its image with sugar workers, who understand their industry is going nowhere.

But given the manner in which the Government handled the matter, they had no option but to dig their heels in.
Even a cornered rat will bare its teeth!

…of oil

Minister of State Joseph Harmon tried to save Raphael Trotman’s blushes at their recent PNC press conference. (Yes…after the Nassau Compact, Trotman’s returned home!)

Harmon insisted Trotman had the best brains advising him to negotiate when he engaged Exxon on fixing the royalty on our oil they’ll pump out.

Pressed to identify these experts, however, Harmon was forced into silence. What COULD he say?? That Trotman was so insecure he refused to call for help?

But as your Eyewitness has been asking: why didn’t he just follow the example of Uganda, where he’d been sent to learn from their experience?? Uganda imposed a royalty of 12.5%.

Even for Trotman, it couldn’t have been so difficult to remember just one number, could it??

But the giveaway didn’t end with the ridiculous 2% royalty. Trotman should be asked whether he had followed the PPP’s formula — splitting the profits 50/50.

He followed the Ugandans to tax the oil contractor – here Exxon – at their 30% corporate rate?!

…of agriculture

Finance Minister Jordan should know his limitations. Economics isn’t his forte; he’s a numbers-crunching guy.

So he should stay even further away from the economics of agriculture. He recommended China’s use of unused fish as fertiliser.

So where will Guyana get these “unused fish”??


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