Goolsarran scolds Govt over denial of sinking economy

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– plugs need for Economics Ministry over Social Cohesion, Business

Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran has scolded the 13-month-old A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government for its denial of the current ailing state of the country’s economy.

Goolsarran said that three per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) did not mean that all was well with the economy.

“The Government is in denial that the economy is slowing down, but it is evident,” he stated.

Anand Goolsarran
Anand Goolsarran

Goolsarran indicated that 40 per cent of the youths was unemployed, there was evidence of under-employment, businesses were struggling and there was also the existence of parallel economies.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan had affirmed, however, that the economy was in good shape by presenting statistics and explanations in support of the Government’s defence. He had cited the commendation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Guyana’s economic growth, which is projected to be four per cent this year.

Jordan also contended that the IMF report should not be doubted or challenged, since it was already established that the body was neutral. “IMF economists would visit a country and scrutinise its economic and financial developments before discussing policies within the two areas with the Government and the Central Bank officials,” he noted.

He also stated that the Government was not idle in delivering since its coming into office and presently was engaging the attention of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to acquire loans for the 2016-2017 period, particularly in the areas of agricultural diversification, infrastructural development and commerce.

Ministry of Economics

The former Auditor General said the answer to the country’s economic woes could be found, but a number of things must be done, chief among them the establishment of a ministry of economic development and planning.

According to an article in today’s Guyana Times, Goolsarran – who is a transparency advocate, said economic planning was a prerequisite for any country’s development and given Guyana’s economic status, it made sense for the country to have a ministry of economics.

“I don’t see the need for a Ministry of Social Cohesion, or why we should have separated Ministries for Business and Tourism. The question is why a Ministry of Economics was left out by this new Cabinet?” he asked.

Although, he was aware that the Finance Ministry had some responsibility for economics, Goolsarran stated that the Finance Minister portfolio was already weighty and the country’s economics would require more attention.

Economic plan

The former Auditor General emphasised the need for an economic plan to take the country forward.

“Guyana urgently needs an economic plan especially in our current economic situation,” Goolsarran remarked.

He noted that this could be achieved with an economic planning entity such as the ministry of economics, providing that the body was separate and distinct.

Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had called on the Government to produce an economic plan, while lambasting it for not having any plans to develop the economy.

Jagdeo, reflecting on the coalition Government’s first anniversary back in May, had said that after one year of the APNU/AFC in office, Guyanese were worse off.

He had stated that he noticed a “lack of direction” from the Government, arguing that the economy was “fixable”, but the Government had no vision about where it was heading.

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