OPINION: Where has all the money gone?

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The following letter was submitted by Sasenarine Singh 

Dear Editor:

As Guyana prepares to transition to a new Government, people are demanding to know where has all the money gone that was transferred to the outgoing Granger Government in May 2015. Today, Guyana is buried in massive acts of corruption, youth unemployment, and gross inequality across the nation.

What the evidence is illustrating, is that the nation’s wealth has been squandered. If one looks at the foreign reserves, it has fallen to US$501 million as at the end of April 2020, compared to US$619 million when Mr. Granger came into office; a decline of US$118 million. And this is in an environment where our primary imports (petroleum products) are selling on the world market at some of their lowest prices in years.

A lack of investment in our productive sector has led to a stagnation in productive outputs across the nation. And this situation was not being helped by the COVID-19 lockdown and the elections antics that we have observed since March 2020.

This translates into layman’s term to this truth; there isn’t enough money to fill the Treasury. One of the benchmarks of this depletion is the state of the account that is assigned to en-cashing Government checks (the Government Deposit at the Bank of Guyana).

From the graph below one would see that since the No-Confidence Vote that has caused the Granger Government to fall, the stock of cash assigned to honoring Government checks has moved from minus G$55 billion to minus G$92 billion. The decline in April 2020  alone was G$9.5 billion in light o the runaway spending under Team Granger.

The IMF caution the Granger Government on the size of this outstanding balance at the Central Bank in their 2018 Staff Report. At the time of that report, the size of this overdraft was 6 percent of the size of the economy. Unfortunately, the inaction in settling this matter on the part of the Granger Government has resulted in a new debt being forced on to the books of the incoming Government totaling some US$460 million.

With the incoming Government expected to put policies in place to inject new business confidence into the economy and deal with the burning issue of youth unemployment, which is running as high as approximately 35% at the end of 2019 (based on a preliminary survey), this unnecessary debt has placed a tremendous burden on every single Guyanese especially the 65% who are under the age of 35.

So I conclude by asking the tough question from Mr. David Arthur Granger, where has all the money gone?