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The Opposition, the A Partnership of National Unity and Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), at its press conference Thursday said given the revenue intake from oil and gas last year Guyanese deserve more. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Guyana’s GDP growth rate for 2022 was projected at 57.8 per cent. Guyana’s oil and gas revenue in 2022 was projected at over US$1 Billion and US$150 million in royalty.
Pointing out that Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has surpassed Trinidad and Tobago, another oil producing country, the Opposition said the government could afford to do more for the people.
“We note this not because we seek to compare ourselves to our Caribbean neighbours, but because it is a milestone that bears reflection. Apart from a few countries like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Trinidad and Tobago has typically been regarded as the country with the third highest GDP per capita in the Western Hemisphere. This means that by year end, Guyana will only be surpassed by the United States and Canada in the entire Western Hemisphere.”
According to the APNU+AFC, Guyanese must ask themselves “throughout 2023 what standard of living should the people in the third wealthiest country in the Western Hemisphere enjoy?”
Pointing out that Guyanese should be on track to enjoying one of the highest living standards in the world the Opposition said, however, due to the government’s mismanagement, cronyism, and corruption, citizens will continue to see growing poverty and inequality.
“We will continue to see the average Guyanese family struggling to make ends meet as the cost-of-living spirals out of control. We will continue to see crowded and understaffed hospitals with poor supplies and facilities. We will continue to see Guyana ranking at the bottom of human development and quality of life indicators, such as life expectancy and infant and maternal mortality.”
The Opposition accused President Irfaan Ali, in his recent interview with Al Jazeera, of glossing over the alarming poverty figures as if merely recalling the number of suits in his closet, whilst seeing poverty, hunger and inequality as pesky issues to be dismissed. “They are not side issues. They are core concerns of the people.”
Drawing contrast to what the Opposition said is their “people-centred approach” to governing they said “confronting these ills is at the heart” of such an approach because “the ultimate responsibility of a government is to ensure all citizens can live comfortably, safely, healthily and happily.”
Expressing dismay “to hear the current President of Guyana dismiss the topic, as if disinterested in this sacred obligation, is truly tragic” the coalition said and “it explains why there is a large inflow of oil revenues into the Treasury while at the same time there is the decline in the living standards of most Guyanese.”
2023 will see Guyana’s oil revenues, per capita income, and GDP growing even higher and over US$1 Billion in the National Resource Fund will be available to the government, the coalition pointed out.
“We will likely see a second-oil budget that is larger than the first. But impressive economic numbers and government expenditures mean little if the quality of life of most Guyanese continues to stagnate or decline. The real test therefore is not just better national figures, but happier families, communities, and the country.”
The APNU+AFC said a coalition led government contract with Guyana will put people first and at the centre but while in Opposition they will continue to agitate to improve the lives of Guyanese.
“While in Opposition, we will fight on behalf of the people to ensure the country’s rich national endowment benefits all citizens in a fair and equitable manner, and not only the few selected by the PPP. As a government, we will transform Guyana into one of the best countries to live in.”