Frank Anthony criticises government for chalking up huge public debt; Jordan says treasury bills will be issued

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 July 2018, 20:22 by Denis Chabrol

Opposition MP Dr Frank Anthony

The opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is increasingly hammering government over spending billions of tapping into more GY$50 billion from the Bank of Guyana for public spending, the latest critic being parliamentary front-bencher Dr. Frank Anthony.

“As a Member of Parliament, it is my responsibility to continue to use my office to bring light to these significant bread and butter issues that are adversely affecting the poor and the working class in particular. As the former Minister of Youth, the responsibility is mine to speak up for the youths of Guyana as this Granger Government continues to pawn their future,” Anthony said in a statement.

However, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has already downplayed concerns by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and has assured that government would settle those balances with Treasury Bills. “We have indicated to them that we’ll cover that by Treasury Bills before the end of the year. They weren’t critical as such. They were just observing that you know what you have to do…,” he told Demerara Waves Online News.

Using Bank of Guyana statistics, Anthony accused government of racking up a public debt of 52.2 percent at the end of 2017 and by the end of March, 2018 54 percent of Gross Domestic Product was classified as public debt.  He said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that figure will grow to 57 percent by year-end.

Since 2016 the Government of Guyana has recklessly expanded public sector spending by way of rudderless fiscal policy.  The outcome of this irresponsible public behaviour has resulted in all the available cash that the PPP left in the public treasury being significantly depleted,” said Anthony, a PPP Central Executive member who several sources said is expected to seek his party’s endorsement for the 2020 presidential candidacy.

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan

He cited the example of a public deposit of GY$10.4 billion at the Bank of Guyana.  “All that cash has disappeared, and the Granger Government has now incurred an overdraft at the end of June of GY$53.5 billion,” he added.

Saying that he has lost confidence in the Granger-led administration’s management of Guyana’s economy, Anthony called on Finance Minister Jordan to craft a strategic plan to cushion the impact of rising public debt,  stop wasting time on sloganeering like the ‘good life for all’ and “just get on with the job at hand”

However, the Finance Ministers cautioned that the “numbers are changing everyday” based on revenues garnered and withdrawals made to finance operations pending the acquisition of external financing.

Guyana’s National Budget has a deficit of 5.5 percent of GDP.