By Lakhram Bhagirat
Touting Budget 2018 as “fundamentally flawed”, Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, said that the Coalition Government continues to fail the economy while engaging in unhealthy competition with the Private Sector. She added that the government is yet to bring substantial investments to stimulate the dwindling economy.
“You have created an unfriendly environment for investors, by closing down the concessions of Bai Shan Lin…you chase away Barama. You are sending a message to the world that Guyana does not want you to come here, that we don’t want foreigners here and you are not worth it,” Teixeira said in her presentation on Wednesday evening.
“The state is the largest consumer of the GDP. The largest consumer of the GDP is the government! We are seeing a pattern from 2014, 2015, 2016 and projections for 2017 that the public consumption as a percentage of the GDP expenditure has gone up from 14.3 per cent in 2015 to 16.7 per cent and that the private consumption has gone the other way 65.9 percent in 2015 it is down to 56 percent,” the Parliamentarian added.
Teixeira informed the National Assembly that the government has been “out-crowding” and “outstripping” the Private Sector, which hinders economic development. She noted that the APNU-AFC Government have been actively competing with the Private Sector for credit and loans.
“The economic model that is being projected by the government is one that is taxation as a means to create revenue…governments philosophically are not in the business of profits. Governments are enablers and facilitators,” Teixeira said while reminding the government of their function.
She added that governments also have a moral, political and social responsibility to provide an enabling environment for growth and equal access in order to remove the disparities that exists.
In his presentation Foreign Affairs Minister, Carl Greenidge, had noted that the image of a country is a major enabler of foreign investments.
He explained that there are unwarranted attacks on some foreign companies operating locally and that discourages other investors from bringing their business to the country.
The Opposition Chief Whip accused the government of being one tracked in their approach towards stimulating the economy. She noted that the budget does not translate in addressing the fundamental issues of economic stimulation, while adding that instead of having a mixed economy, the Administration is showing blatant disregard for the will of the people by moving towards authoritarianism which violates the laws of the land.
“The two workers federations (FITUG, GTUC) in this country do not support this budget. The three major organizations that represents the private sector (PSC, GCCI and GMSA) in this country have major concerns about the budget…the disregard for the people of this country indicates that you are moving in an authoritarian direction, you do not wish to involve the people and in fact you are becoming more insulated and alienated from the people,” Teixeira stated.
She noted that the Peoples Progressive Party’s objections to the budget is rooted in what the people on the ground are saying. The Parliamentarian explained that no legitimate stakeholder in the country has come out in support of the budget.