By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) Ronald Webster has responded favourably to the National 2014 Budget which was presented on Monday (March 24) by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh in the National Assembly.
Webster told iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) that he was particularly pleased with the allocation of $100M to begin construction (dredging) of Port Georgetown. He disclosed that this was a part of the PSC recommendations to the Minister in their pre-budget consultation and was happy to see it taken onboard.
On a separate note, the PSC Chairman said he was also satisfied with the $1B dollars in the budget aimed at dealing with the sanitation problem in the country, especially Georgetown. The City will receive half of that sum ($500M).
In this regard, Webster said “I’m pleased to see this emphasis on getting the country clean, we need to return Georgetown and all other municipalities to high standards, it is certainly important to tourism also.”
He added that the monies allocated for upgrades to interior roads were also a good sign for both investment in those inland areas and tourism.
Webster pointed out however that while it is important to budget, it is equally important to have the leadership in place to implement these projects. In this regard he underscored the importance of a functional local government system.
“Overall its positive, we are still studying and we will come out with a more detail response later.”
The PSC Head noted however that he would have liked to see tax incentives for private sector investment in infrastructure.
“I realized this was missing, and taxation is no doubt quite high and in order to motivate private sector interest I think this is important.”
Webster said the incentive for fuel for the manufacturing sector was a welcomed move.
He reiterated that overall the budget was positive and says the PSC will now be looking at the way forward.
Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh on Monday presented a whopping $220B National Budget for the financial year 2014 as he boasted of eight years of consecutive economic growth (2006 -2013) under his stewardship as Finance Minister, representing the longest period of uninterrupted growth.
This year’s budget is not only record breaking in terms of its individual provisions but is also the largest national budget ever presented in the history of Guyana’s independence dating back to 47 years ago.