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Free education, other promises will be phased in because Granger administration is “splurging” funds -Jagdeo

Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.

General Secretary of the opposition People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC), Bharrat Jagdeo said Thursday that if his party wins the March 2020 general elections, it would be hard-pressed to deliver swiftly on all of its promises because the Granger administration has been spending billions of dollars hoping to win votes.

He added that if the Granger administration regains power, Guyanese would be in for harsh economic conditions because the economy is already in a tight squeeze due to low investment, and heavy borrowing from the Bank of Guyana. “Whatever happen to the new government is not their business,” he added. “If the devil helps them and they get into power, then the next year we will be paying for all of this because they are depleting all the reserves…It’s only a short-term thing for the elections,” he added.

After Jagdeo told a news conference that the incumbent A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) coalition was merely “splurging” and “funds are being raided” to “create an air of prosperity,” he questioned how a PPPC administration would finance government operations if there would be little money in the treasury.

He said a number of promises such as free education would be phased in within the next three years, and paying students and graduates with outstanding loans could be asked to provide 100 or 200 hours of public service in exchange for writing off their student loans. Similarly, he said Children’s Grant of GYD$10,000 per month and pensions would eventually be increased to GYD$50,000 within five years.

“Some of our promises have to be phased in,” said Jagdeo, a former Finance Minister and former President.

He also said a PPPC administration planned to revive the forestry, agriculture, mining, retail trade, and construction as well as cut wasteful spending on presidential and ministerial security, and drivers to accelerate the delivery of electoral promises. “You can cut back a lot. Billions of dollars from the extravagance which we are hoping will then go to financing some of the promises,” he said.

Jagdeo said government could reacquire some lands that had been given up at unbelievably low rates and resell them at market rates and inject some of the funds in the construction of low-income houses.