‘Jobs the right path for economic growth’ – VP Jagdeo

─ says government committed to enhancing lives

Vice President, the Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, during his budget debate presentation on Friday, reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring that Guyanese are once again financially empowered.  

During his presentation, the Vice President criticised the former APNU+AFC administration for their polices which he labelled “anti-poor and anti-growth”.

“The majority of our people is employed within the Private Sector, and therefore, you have to support Private Sector growth if you want our people to be employed and enjoy a great standard of living,” Dr. Jagdeo said, in explaining the budgetary allocations. 

The Vice President said the former administration had no economic policy in place and therefore had a “disjointed approach” to economic development. Dr. Jagdeo, an economist, said their system was based on taxation and consumption. 

“The People’s Progressive Party does not believe that collecting more taxes is a sign of progress; it is not. We believe that creating jobs and welfare is the right path for the country and economic growth,” he added.

Vice President Jagdeo said the former regime displayed a blatant disregard for a welfare policy with no proper plan in place which was evident in the dismissal of thousands of sugar workers. 

“You could not have a welfare policy and dismantle the Ministry of Labour, send home 7,000 sugar workers and put them on the breadline; take away $1.3 billion from the children through the cash grant and take away $600 million from the pensioners through free water; tax medicine and hinterland travel, and increase fees by 500 per cent,” he told the National Assembly. 

The money, Dr. Jagdeo said, was used in the

“Public Sector employment of cronies, friends, families.” 

“The Public Service employment grew from 2014 to 2019 … nearly 10,000 more individuals were added to the Ministry of Finance payroll. Mr. Speaker, that is where the money was spent.” He added money was squandered on exuberant salaries and renting buildings for additional offices, among other things. 

“That was their welfare; welfare for themselves while the ordinary man, the vendor, the taxi driver, the sugar worker, the bauxite worker had to contend with paying higher taxes on water, electricity, medicine, foodstuff…while this cabal just drove around trying to steal the resources of the country,” the Vice President said.

Dr. Jagdeo declared that era to be over and added that the PPP/C administration intends to

“ensure the government is competent, properly staffed and that monies go back to people through lower taxes and the monies stay with people so they can spend more.”