Budget 2023 supports community building, infrastructural and human development – VP Jagdeo
– Pours cold water on Norton’s criticisms
Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has poured cold water on the opposition’s claims that Budget 2023 is ‘anti-poor’ as he bemoaned the fact that it has undergone a series of consultations, and has been meticulously crafted to encourage community building and infrastructural improvement.
He was at the time speaking during an interview on the ‘Guyanese Critic Show’ on Thursday evening.
Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton claimed that the $94 billion investment into the education sector is ‘vacuous’, with no announcements made for the increase in wages.
The VP highlighted that the government has budgeted for wages and salaries in 2023, and this announcement would be made closer to the end of the year.
“This allocation shows the commitment of this government to the education sector and our children,” he said.
The VP addressed the opposition’s claims that the budget allocates ‘very little’ for the workers of the country, highlighting, “We have budgeted $107 billion for the employment costs in the public sector. That is $107 billion that will go into people’s pockets, wages, and salaries.”
Moreover, he compared the rise in employment costs from the PPP/C Administration’s previous tenure in office to the APNU+AFC’s tenure, noting that employment costs grew by $38 billion in the first three years of the PPP/C Government’s tenure, a feat that could not be imitated by APNU+AFC while in government for five years.
Further, the VP referred to the opposition’s ‘hand to mouth’ philosophy, one that this administration is actively avoiding.
“You will never accumulate anything if you manage a country or a party like that. You will never own a house like that, you will rent one. Under the PPP/C Government, we are trying to make sure that people can own a house,” he said.
Dr Jagdeo added that the precarious philosophy adopted by the opposition is reflected in its previous budget allocations, with few investments made in sustainable development.
Referring to the 2023 budget allocation for the construction of the new Demerara River Bridge, the VP highlighted that the PPP/C Administration prioritises these sustainable endeavours to improve the lives of Guyanese.
“It’s a lot of money to build the bridge, and it is in the budget, and so it pushes up the budget. But, when the bridge is built, the budget will come down back,” he said.
He noted that this principle also applies to the Gas-to-Energy project as well, an investment that will reap many returns.
“The annual revenue of GPL is $39 billion. If we cut the electricity price by 50 per cent, that means people can save US$100 million per year when that project is completed,” the VP explained.