Budget 2020 ‘a people’s budget’

-Economist Dhanraj Singh

The Government’s Emergency Budget 2020 is one which reprioritises the people while outlining an allocation of resources that will transform lives through development and investment.

Economist, Mr. Dhanraj Singh, Executive Director of Guyana Budget and Policy Making Institute, agrees.  

“On a macro-economic level, any economist who has looked at this Budget in the current situation, with how the government has appropriated the funding and where they have prioritised those investments [will see]they have really put people right back in the middle of the Budget and you can rightfully call it a people’s budget,” he told DPI.  

While the emergency fiscal package does not contain allocations, the economist noted that many of the measures and tax reversals will see more money going back into people’s pockets. Mr. Singh added that at the end of the year, the money saved would amount to more than a five per cent increase.

“That’s the point of economic development, especially in the moment of a crisis, you want to have the people at the lowest end of the income ladder, those that are living in poverty, those who are struggling to make ends meet, the ordinary families; you want the benefits to go to these families.

So what the Budget did, in my view, was a beautiful marriage of both cash allowances to inject cash into these households and at the same time, approved a series of taxation and finance measures that is going to put more money in the hands of these families.”

Mr. Singh commended the government for the record 21 days in which the Budget was prepared and presented.

“When you look at this Budget, completed in such a short time, and fixes much of the issues the Guyana Budget and Policy Institute has been advocating for over the past five years, I have no other feeling than the feeling of jubilation when I look at the Budget,” Mr. Singh said.

Among the many measures which will aid in the country’s development, he highlighted investments planned for agriculture, and those made in education and health, to achieve specific goals of economic policy.  

Between the two [education and health] you’re looking at almost $90 billion out of the $330 billion in spending and that’s very good. If there is anything that this crisis is defined by is health and education because the education system has been disrupted and the health workers are facing an entirely different situation,” he said.

Investment in the development of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector, Mr. Singh said, shows the country is heading in the right direction.

“Five point two billion dollars allocated for ICT and for liberalising the sector! In the past administration, they were spending $5.2 billion on perks alone and spending $2 billion on ICT. So, to see this government correcting all those fiscal nightmares the past administration was making is a good sign for the economy,” Mr. Singh said.  

According to the economist, the Budget sets the framework for transforming the country’s economy.