Administration’s economic programme being stymied by previous gov’t actions –Minister Jordan

Georgetown, GINA, August 8, 2016

The APNU +AFC government’s economic plans are being hindered by the past actions of the former People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan told the media at the presentation of the country’s Mid-Year Report, today.

The Minister, addressing the many payouts which the current administration is now saddled with said, “We have inherited so many liabilities and so many judgments that are now coming to the fore that we have to pay, once it is a court judgment we have to pay. We have many small ones, but there are many big ones to come up.”

Referencing the many unsettled liabilities of the previous administration, the Minister of Finance said, “People may not want to pay, but that’s the life of the government. Since it came in we have so many outstanding liabilities and so many judgments that have been given, in fact I am not even counting the amount that we transfer to GuySuco annually.”

Among the inherited liabilities, the minister identified were,  $ 5,651,431 475.35 which Cabinet has agreed to repay the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) over a 20- year period beginning in January of 2017, following the collapse of the Colonial Life Insurance Company (CLICO). The PPP/C Government had invested large sums of money belonging to the country’s social security provider. More than $1 billion had to be paid to Rudisa resulting from a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling which the former administration failed to honour, in excess of $ 1 billion paid to BK construction as an out of court settlement of claims relating to the construction of the Haags Bosch landfill site, and a projected large settlement owed to Booker Tate by the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo).

Referring to the anticipated Booker Tate judgment, Minister Jordan said, “… if you are already in the red who has to pay it? I’m not saying government will pay, but if you are already in the red and getting bailouts from government, technically who has to pay? Then to compound matters of outstanding payments by the former PPP/C administration is all of these shoddy works that have been done on projects in the past, whether is Kato School, East Bank road, Skeldon Sugar factory, you name it. They pile up, so it is difficult trying to implement government’s current programme when we are under the guns with all of these huge liabilities that are there…”

He further asked, “How can you lower taxes when you are faced with all of these expenditures which are not current expenditures to add value to people’s lives and improve their welfare?”

The Finance Minister explained that the presentation of this year’s mid-year report is in keeping with the APNU +AFC government’s mantra of improving transparency and accountability, and represents the first time the report has been presented before the parliamentary recess.