By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan says corruption has a relative link to poverty as he pledged to weed out corruption in State agencies.
Minister Jordan made the comment while delivering his introductory remarks at the 11th session of the National Assembly on Friday, June 26 where he hinted at the direction in which the Finance Ministry would be heading.
The Finance Minister pointed out that poverty goes hand in hand with corruption, and one cannot be dealt with without looking at the other.
“To tackle poverty we also have to root out corruption, we must go after this scourge wherever it is…big corruption or small those who will transfer vehicles illegally or those who will get free gas, it is still corruption,” said a defiant Jordan.
He also dismissed criticisms offered to the APNU+AFC government over its decision to conduct forensic audits of state agencies pointing out that it would be foolish for a government not to properly inform itself of what pertains within the agencies.
It was also pointed out that Guyana has an external debt of US$1.6B.
“Guyana’s external debt is US$1.6B, and we were recipients of generous debt write-offs from both bilateral and multilateral agents that have put us in a category where we have to pay careful attention to what we borrow, how we borrow, and what we borrow for,” said Jordan.
Jordan pointed out too that Guyana’s economy has not achieved any significant amount of growth as the People’s Progressive Party/Civic has led the nation to believe, adding that the economy has been “up and down.”
“The economy has been up and down and playing catch up over the last two decades,” said the Finance Minister.
The Finance Minister stated that it is imperative that Guyana remove the bureaucracy surrounding the conduct of business in Guyana.
“We must remove the bureaucracy of doing business….we are moving like molasses going up a hill,” Minister Jordan emphasized.
“We are going to be reforming the procurement system. OF course, we will start where we have some control and that is the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board. A new board will be in place by next week and some of the practices reviewed.”