By Jomo Paul
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Amid loud heckling and taunts, Former Housing Minister of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration, Irfaan Ali today started off the Budget 2015 debates, stating that the budget is lacking in several areas.
Ali, in his presentation to the National Assembly, said that the $221B budget by Finance Minister Winston Jordan has effectively taken food out of the mouths of hundreds of Guyanese.
“Budget 2015 has taken away thousands of jobs and over $1B from Amerindian villages…taken away more than $500M of direct subsidies to pensioners…the delayed the aspirations of Guyanese people for cheaper electricity,” said the PPP MP.
According to Ali, the budget fails to address the issues of investors’ confidence and some “retrenchment” in the bauxite industry.
“We hear of no reduction in electricity tariffs in Guyana…we ask this government to immediately review the reduction of electricity tariffs considering the reduction in gas prices,” said a passionate Ali, who shouted over the heckling throughout his presentation.
He also spoke of reduced investment in “almost every region except in region Four.” According to Ali, the APNU+AFC administration is now finding it hard to fulfill elections promises of higher prices and better markets for rice produce.
The PPP also wants the government to establish a National Paddy Price System and work towards the maintenance of rice production above 600,000 tonnes per annum. Ali contended that unlike the APNU+AFC, the PPP has always been a Party of its word.
“We are not a Party of false hopes and promises,” said the PPP MP. He said that the budget boasts “nothing fresh” since most of the projects therein were conceptualized by the PPP while it was in office.
Ali also said that the PPP is in support of a $100,000 minimum wage as was called for by the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU). He also suggested a review of the salaries and pensions of teachers and nurses at which the government side of the House erupted in laughter.
The minimum wage currently stands at $50,000.