27 April 2017
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Sunday, 26 June 2016 05:08

Time to Listen

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 Like the proverbial ostrich, the APNU/AFC government has its head in the sand and cannot see the real state of the country – its economy and the conditions of the people. The government is also deaf – it is not listening to what are the reactions of Guyanese to its more than one year in office. 

The private sector, which was miniaturized under the PNC (1964-1992), and which was regarded as the engine of growth under the PPP/C (1992-2015), had pleaded with the government to lay out its economic plan. 

 

This is how that sector operates. It must operate within the margins of a definite nationally economic plan if it is to make its contribution to national development in an organized manner. Investors, financial institutions, and individuals, must know the priorities of the day so as to make prudent economic and financial decisions. Where there is an absence of a nation­al strategy and plan, the Wild West comes into play. People are then left to make their own decisions and more often than not these will not mesh with any national development. This is what triggers the unofficial economy and capital flight. 

The government has not responded to this call. 

The People’s Progressive Party and Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo, have pleaded with the government to present a national economic plan. Jagdeo has offered to help. All this to no avail! The government continues to disregard the unfulfilled hopes of the society 

Jagdeo’s twelve years in the Presidency, saw the country emerging out of its debt-ridden state into one of economic recovery. This is an undisputed fact. He understands the econ­omy and it is unfortunate that the government is not listening to him. The PPP does not want to see economic decline but positive movements that would add to what it has achieved. That is why it insists on defending the measure put in place prior to 2015 which benefitted the people of Guyana. 

The PPP has had tremendous experience in governance both in the 1953-1964 and 1992-2015 periods of taking the economy forward. It was based on a philosophical outlook, a national patriotic strategy and a workable and realistic plan. In short, Cheddi Jagan, who headed the PPP governments in both periods, had a vision which was simple but serious. His vision centered around two vital elements – people and country. That legacy continues to be the framework within which the PPP operates. 

The PNC, the main element in the APNU/AFC coalition, on the other hand, has the distinction of bringing the country to its knees by not having a plan which can inspire Guyanese to get on board and play their part in national development. In fact, everything it does, in the past and today, is either anti-people or anti-national. 

How can a government stay unmoved by the crisis facing several productive sectors? How are we going to create wealth to take care of the people? 

This government has been warned about its imprudent spending of tax-payers money. This innate tendency was evident under Forbes Burnham, Desmond Hoyte and now David Granger. We are going to consume more than we pro­duce. We are going to borrow to eat. We are going to have the International Monetary Fund here again. There will be no investment and the private sector will do what it does best – move its resources where it can make money. 

The trends are there for all to see. Luckily, the economic momentum generated under the PPP is still moving us for­ward. But without added fuel (intellect and will), sloth will eventually grip the nation. Last year growth slowed. The same will happen this year. Next year will be worse. 

The first quarter of 2016 saw the Bank of Guyana identify­ing “sluggist activities in wholesale and retail trade, financial and insurance and other services industries.” Key indicators in the productive sectors, except for mining, are not encouraging 

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