Budget 2020 is $330B
– a substantial part already spent by the previous administration
– stymied some of the initiatives that the gov’t wanted to pursue
Budget 2020 will be approximately $330B, an increase of $28.8B from 2019. While this year’s budget is larger, Vice-President, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo told a news conference on Monday that a substantial part of the funds was already spent by the previous administration.
“You would think that we are in September, why this big budget. Well a substantial part of the money has been spent already by APNUAFC. So, of the $330B, $72B is for capital expenditure and if you take out the foreign funded capital expenditure, it leaves $49B of local expenditure,” Dr. Jagdeo noted during Monday’s press briefing at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
Of the $49B, $27B has already been spent on rollover projects from 2019. The VP said this was as a result of the spending spree that was undertaken by the previous administration. Dr. Jagdeo pointed out that this spending was not approved and were given out as large contracts.
“$27B of the $49B in this year’s budget has already been spent as of July 31st, so really, we only had room in this budget from local expenditure to programme $22B for new initiatives,” the Vice President outlined.
Dr. Jagdeo said the spending by the APNU+AFC Coalition has stymied some of the initiatives that the government wanted to pursue. Nevertheless, the VP pointed out that the government found room to fulfill the tax promises, which will be a boost to the economy.
It was highlighted by the Vice President that the local economy was facing hardship due to the lack of incentives even before COVID-19 hit Guyana. When COVID-19 came, the economy went into what the Vice President described as a “tailspin.”
“The context in creating the budget is one where all the real sectors of the entire economy and many state enterprises are in decline excepting the oil and gas sector… So, it is not just the real sector in decline and public enterprises but it is also the revenue of the state that is in decline,” the Vice President underscored.
He pointed out that the agriculture and fisheries sectors are expected to decline by two percent, bauxite between 40 and 50 percent, gold mining by 0.2 percent, accommodation and food by 32 percent, entertainment and recreation by 46 percent and other services by 51 percent. Manufacturing and construction, he said are in decline and will continue to decline.
There are also a number of public enterprises and subvention agencies that are in decline or posting a deficit. These include the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo), Guyana Power and Light, Guyana Water Incorporated, Guyana Forestry Commission, Mahaica Mahaicony Abary – Agricultural Development Authority and the Guyana Lands and Survey, among others.