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The A Partnership for National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) flayed the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) for what has been described as the “the worst supplemental budget in Guyana’s history.”
Youth Advisor, Mr. Elson Low, speaking at the press conference Tuesday, said when Guyanese consider the $44 Billion the Government asked the National Assembly to approve, precious little of which was allocated for urgent or unexpected expenses, serves as proof of Government’s disconnect from the realities of the day.
According to the Opposition, it was the second opportunity Government had to provide Guyanese with cost of living relief but yet again let the people down. Further, the coalition questioned Government’s failure to use the $60 Billion of unexpected oil revenue towards alleviating the high cost of living, a sum they say amounts to roughly $300,000 per household.
The full statement follows: –
SUPPLEMENTAL BUDGET EXPOSES PPP’S DISREGARD FOR THE REAL NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE
This must surely be the worst supplemental budget in Guyana’s history. When Guyanese consider the $44 billion dollars the government has asked the National Assembly to approve, precious little of which is for urgent or unexpected expenses, it is clear that the PPP is so disconnected from the realities of the day that the party probably believes it governs neighboring Suriname, and not our dear Guyana.
This is the second opportunity the government has had to provide Guyanese with cost of living relief, and it is the second time ordinary people have been left dismayed. Why has the government refused to put the $60 billion dollars of unexpected oil revenue we benefited from this year to use in fighting the cost of living crisis? That amounts to roughly $300,000 per household, every dollar of which Guyanese desperately need.
What the government has decided to spend on, in its biggest single line item, is the upgrade of roads and drainage. $18 billion dollars has been put toward this, but no detail has been provided as to which roads and drains will be upgraded. Of course, we believe Guyana’s infrastructure must be continuously improved, but what serious party would not adequately plan for the upgrade of roads and drainage in Guyana, where the number of rivers is only exceeded by the number of potholes.
Are we to believe that the PPP, in all honesty, didn’t expect heavy rains this Christmas? The same rains which happen every year? Or, rather, is this budget yet another PPP attempt to steal everything in sight? In a supplemental budget we should be seeing responses to the unexpected inflation escalation that has gripped the country. This means direct cost of living relief, as well as an emergency additional increase in public servant pay to bring the total annual increase to a minimum of 25%. We should not be seeing expenses that we could have predicted at the beginning of the year.
The total budgetary allocation for 2022, when you include the previous $44.8 billion supplemental budget and this one, is now an enormous $645 billion dollars. Of that $645 billion, only a shameful, minuscule 0.8% has been directly allocated to cost of living mitigation. The government likes to point to its tiny, sporadic cash grants, or its grant for school children, to say that it is spending the people’s money fighting this cost of living crisis. These are the minimal measures that might have been expected if Guyana was not facing record inflation, or producing a single barrel of oil. They are wholly inappropriate given the scale of the increase in food prices, and the immense 350,000 barrels of oil a day production we have seen all year.
The PPP continues to peddle the same old lie that oil revenues are not enough to improve people’s lives, increase public servant salaries substantially, and eradicate poverty, but this year’s oil revenues are larger than the entire government budgets only a few years ago! The PPP is pretending there is not enough money, not because there is any shortage of funds, but because they believe that money is only for their elite. As yet another supplemental budget has demonstrated that ordinary Guyanese have nothing, save misery, to expect from the PPP.