Last Updated on Saturday, 22 August 2015, 4:16 by GxMediaImmediately after pledging solemnly to work with the government to improve the lives of Guyanese, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo and his colleague People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) parliamentarians walked out of the House.
During in his estimated 90-minute contribution to the 2015 National Debate, Jagdeo lambasted the Finance Minister Winston Jordan for crafting a budget that would fail to stimulate the economy.
“It does not respond to the concerns of the people. It doesn’t focus on creating jobs, it doesn’t focus on creating wealth. It focuses on redistribution of wealth,” he told the House.
The Russian-trained Economist and former Finance Minister predicted that Guyana’s economy would eventually run into serious problems. “In two or three years the economy will flat-line,” he said, adding that real estate and motor vehicle sales have plummeted.
Jagdeo also questioned the wisdom of removing tax remissions from the private sector, saying that “it is in effect a tax increase.”
After reflecting on the state of the economy in 1991 when the deficit was 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) while today it is 2.9 percent of GDP.
“You left a bankrupt country, today we have the most vibrant economy,” he said to loud thumps of the desk and cheers from the PPP’s benches.
Weighing on the decision by government to move about GUY$30 billion out of private bank accounts for revenue generating semi-autonomous and autonomous agencies to the Consolidated Fund, Jagdeo charged that government was decreasing money supply. “He is shrinking money supply-this is not anti-cyclical, this is pro-cyclical-you are going to drive the economy into further problems,” he said.
The Opposition Leader contended that the budget failed to provide for increased prices of GUY$6,000 and GUY$9,000 per bag of paddy and rice. He observed that no mention was made of any programmes or plans to create a green economy.
Jagdeo called for Commissions of Inquiry into extra-judicial killings and electoral violence for several decades now.
Touching on the political environment, he used the opportunity to suggest that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had violated a pre-election agreement with the Alliance For Change (AFC) that had guaranteed Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo several responsibilities including chairing the cabinet, domestic security and the appointment of certain commissions. Instead, he said Nagamootoo was responsible for the State media. “If you cannot be faithful to your word to your partners then how can you be faithful and true to your word to the people,” he said.