The country braced as the National Assembly today commenced its debate on the 2016 Budget that was presented to the House by Finance Minister Winston Jordan with the first speaker being People’s Progressive Party MP Irfaan Ali.
Ali told the house that all is not well within Budget 2016 as it only caters for select sections of society and disregards the poor.
He said that Jordan attempted to “paint a rosy picture’ of the economy in his budget speech but clearly that is not the case.
“You are expected to believe that fairy tale story that the average Guyanese enjoyed the good life as was promised last year. But the fact of the matter is that it was an elusive dream for many and a reality for a selected few,” he stated adding “It was a mirage.”
Ali also stated that while some important macroeconomic indicators were mentioned, others were disregarded by the Minister in his budget speech.
“Non performing loans clearly point to skyrocketing bankruptcy and clearly points to Guyanese not being able to service their loans,” said the MP who stated that non-performing loans increased by 63.5% in 2015.
“How do we reconcile the fairy tale story of increased income and persons are unable to pay their debts? The question on the lips of ordinary Guyanese is where is the good life? How can the honorable Minister come to the House with a straight face and tell the Guyanese to enjoy the good life?” Ali questioned.
Meanwhile, Business Minister Dominic Gaskin who spoke after Ali was quick to point out that the APNU+AFC will keep its promises as were made in the 2015 elections manifesto.
He said that while Ali has criticized the lack of information on job creation, it should be noted that during its tenure in office for over two decades, there was no information available those figures.
He said that several projects that were unfinished by the previous administration under the Rural Enterprise Development programme will be completed in 2016.
This includes the completion of a plantain chip factory on the Wakenaam Islands. It is expected that these advents will create some 600 jobs.