By Dr. Peter R. Ramsaroop, MBA
The Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has worked overtime to keep our economic growth steady. He has brought Guyana through the most agonizing global economic downturn in modern history.
The 2013 budget and string of new measures presented in March of this year is beginning to payoff.
After intense lobbying from the Private Sector, the government took steps in reforming business and personal tax rate such as the reduction of PAYE tax. Also the Mortgage interest and reduction in personal property taxes has contributed to the housing boom we have experienced this year.
In addition it created a pool of discretionary dollars for us to use to improve our well-being. The goal of the 2013 budget was to expand the base of the middle class and ultimately achieve incremental wealth creation and continued job growth.
Poverty reduction is not just about more money for the vulnerable, but by giving them the opportunity to rise above their current levels. All indications that these measures are working and the benefits will be more realized in 2014 and beyond. The cap reduction on business property tax were long overdue and the measures were good supply-side measures especially for small businesses.
Return of the Socialist:
I can still remember the 1970s recession and mismanagement which induced pessimism all over our nation. This had given way to some new thinking in 2001 when the REFORM component joined the PNC. All this now is gone and the socialist and failed economic policies are back.
One just had to follow the negative response to the proposal by Dr. Ramroop to acquire the Cricket and Football ground in order to put a revived approach to local sports and entertainment events. It was a business investment. That is what capitalism with a social conscience is all about.
When one has the money to spend why stop it. Jobs are created with any investment. Somehow it seems like the dunce hat we use to make in school in the 70s are still on those politician of the past heads, that they continue to block initiatives that brings about jobs for our people.
In Georgetown, we constantly experience the mismanagement of the city and its consequences on the citizens. The unfounded negativity by the Opposition politicians and certain section of the media has led to our freedom of speech rights being turned into nasty politics and negative views on our country which will continue to deter foreign investments.
The structured economic plan and approach by the Government has been tested constantly over the last two years and it is because of sound measures, we are still seeing growth in our economy. I recon our economy would have performed more strongly had not key programs being stifled.
The other main players in our economic drama, the Opposition politicians, have for the entire year not presented any new measures but sloppy, slippery estimates of shadowy economic analysis as in the case of their rejection of one of the nation’s energy solution with the Hydro Plant project.
To date, they continue the negativity against Guyana with justification that it is what opposition politicians are supposed to do. What they keep failing to realize that when you are in opposition, it is an opportunity to present to the voting population why you would be better in government.
At least we can all conclude now that their failure to do so is evident, but of more concern to the citizens is their anti-Guyana approach that is holding back stronger economic growth and job opportunities for our citizens.
As citizens, we must understand that Guyana does not have any amount of spare capacity in our economy, thus every unfounded negative policy against projects that will enhance growth must be rejected. Our economy will remain somewhat unbalance until we reverse the trend of negative politics by the opposition parliamentarians, when they continuously cut capital projects that are put in place to ensure long term success for Guyana.
Voters need to weigh this type of pessimistic and negative politics in the future against the hope for long term growth that sees every citizen having the opportunity to benefit. We need to fix the roof while the sun is shining and that is what the 70s-80s politicians running APNU had failed to do.
I am glad the government and finance minister have taken on the challenge to put measures in place to hold our economy together. Guyana is on a growth pattern where citizens are benefiting. The housing boom, lending rates, and increase in investment has trickled down to many citizens who are grabbing those opportunities.
We need all of us, the citizens of our nation to be optimistic, to ensure good management, good politics and a little luck that can see our country excel and be more competitive in our region.