The business community in Guyana continues to face many challenges in light of the declining state of the economy with no long term or short term plan(s) being introduced by the government, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo told representatives of the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) today.
The former president, during a business luncheon said that the APNU/AFC Administration needs to address this dire situation where the economy continues to decline and not continue to trumpet tunes which state that there is no economic crisis in Guyana presently.
Jagdeo explained that the APNU+AFC coalition has been in government for one year and three months to date, however, it has failed to both publicise or implement any short or long term plans which would build and strengthen Guyana’s economy.
The Russian trained economist who had also served as the country’s Finance Minister, referred to statements made by Business Minister Dominic Gaskin at the previous GMSA business luncheon held a few months ago stating that while the minister’s speech focused extensively on rankings in international indices, and while there were positives mentioned in Guyana’s Mid-Year Report 2016, the government is yet to provide a policy framework and implement a plan which would tackle at least some of the challenges which the private sector and by extension the economy is suffering from.
“The government must clearly define its long term goal for the country…saying where it is going to be in five/ten years’ time and the policy measures to get there…, there’s no long term plan, there’s no short term plan, this government acts capriciously” Jagdeo posited.
He cited that for many months members of the business community have been fearful about their futures and the APNU+AFC coalition has disregarded these concerns since it has not treated the issues as priorities.
According to Jagdeo, there are no programmes or policies to define the administration’s strategy but stressed that with sound policies the challenges present in today’s economy could be overcome.
The Opposition Leader pointed out that the APNU+AFC coalition should not depend mostly on the profits of oil in Guyana to help stabilise and boost the economy. “We are enjoying a period of relative calm and basically good prices but these are going to turn against us again…prices are going to climb back in the future for fossil fuel…We have no plan and we are not even making short-term investment plans,” he also explained.
According to Jagdeo, Guyana has failed to invest in renewable energy sources to date specifically in establishing the Amaila Falls Hydropower project which would have been a major benefit in the future for hydropower in Guyana.
“We’ll be caught flat-footed with shortages…we don’t have adequate power in the system…the cost will be horrendous to consumers and the public. That’s why we have to factor in the international trends.”
He implored the APNU+AFC coalition to ensure that there are contingency measures in place as soon as possible so as to reduce the negative effects of gradually rising world oil prices.
The former president recalled that this government’s Green Energy policy focuses on sourcing solar, wind and hydro electricity but is urging that it make sound choices to source renewable energy.
(Photos by Carl Croker)