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As the year ends the A Partnership of National Unity and Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC) coalition has taken to its social media page to remind Guyanese the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) government has failed the country. The coalition is of the belief Guyana can have one of the world’s highest standards of living and can be one of the world’s happiest societies, but proposals to the government to achieved these have been ignored.
According to the coalition “throughout 2022, as poverty and inequality got worse, as most Guyanese faced increasing hardships, as families struggled to put food on the table, APNU+AFC has called for a range of urgent people-centered responses from as early as January 2022.”
The coalition reminded of its call for:
(i) a comprehensive anti-poverty plan;
(ii) a 25% plus salary increase for public servants, healthcare workers, teachers and other state employees;
(iii) $10,000 plus increase in old age pensions;
(iv) the removal of income tax for low-income earners;
(v) multi-billion-dollar investments to revitalise depressed communities; and
(vi) a massive grants scheme to spur the start-up and growth of micro to medium-scale businesses.
The government has implemented none of these measures even as the World Bank and other international institutions drew attention to the fact that whilst Guyana is among the world’s fastest growing economies, poverty is increasing.
The Opposition reminded that as cost of living continued to spike during the year – and with the government still demonstrating indifference and incompetence – the call was made to cap fuel prices and for a waiver of water and electricity payments for low-income households. These measures the coalition said would have brought direct relief to Guyanese and would have put income in their pockets. “All of these demands were rejected.”
Moreover, stated the APNU+AFC, it was made known the persistent inflow of unexpected high oil revenues occasioned by the Russian invasion of Ukraine could have been shared among Guyanese through Direct Cash Transfer.The Opposition recalled it has pointed out the oil windfall equated to $300,000 per household – and proposed the money be equitably and transparently distributed in a structured and focused way to the people. But “again, PPP rejected this people-centered proposal.”
Guyana is projected to earn at least US$1.1 billion from oil and gas this year. This is revenue the nation never seen before. And taking into consideration the reality of Guyana’s wealth the Opposition said the PPP government could have measures in place to achieve the goal of zero poverty and zero misery.