The opposition coalition A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) Friday night pegged increased Old Age pensions and salaries to sufficient cash in the State’s coffers and weeding out of corruption.
“If we go in there and we find enough money in the Treasury, the first people we will think about will be our senior citizens,” Prime Ministerial candidate, Moses Nagamootoo told a large rally of the coalition at Vreed-en-Hoop, West Bank Demerara.
The coalition has promised to increase Old Age pensions to GUY$15,000 initially, give a 20 percent across-the-board salary increase to law enforcement personnel and a 10 percent salary hike to other government employees. A coalition-led administration also plans to give a GUY$50,000 monthly allowance each to 200 youths to help them pursue their goals in atheltics, arts and music.
But, according to Nagamoootoo, those offers are hinged on stamping out corruption. “We are hoping that if we stop the thiefing, we could pay public servants across-the-board increase… nurses, police ranks, teachers….must not live on starvation wages; they must not survive on a dog’s meal anymore,” he said.
The Prime Ministerial candidate, however, stressed that those increases would be possible only if the coalition first wins and “rescue the treasury which they are treating as their personal property.”
At the same time, the coalition has pledged to lower the 16 percent Value Added Tax, increase the Personal Income Tax threshold and reduce taxes and duties on new vehicles.
The incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), on the eve of the unveiling of its manifesto on Saturday, has criticized the opposition coalition for failing to show how it would generate revenue to pay incentives, higher salaries and increased pensions.
President Donald Ramotar has warned that such increases would fuel inflation and devaluation of the Guyana dollar which now stands at GUY$211 to US$1.00.
Nagamootoo argued that corruption was the number one issue facing the government and nation at a time when 25 percent of Guyanese were unemployed and 35 percent below the poverty line. “Therefore, every cent is important to create jobs. Every cent is important to provide social security for our people and we have to stop the corruption,” he said.
About 570,000 persons are registered to vote in the May 11, 2015 general and regional elections.