Georgetown, Guyana (August 12, 2015) – Minister of State, Joseph Harmon said that budget 2015 as presented by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan is part of the APNU+AFC’s vision which will set the stage for development in Guyana for the next five years.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing, the Minister said that, “we believe that this budget is a clear manifestation of the promises we made to the Guyanese people in addressing their concerns; the concerns of the small man while at the same time creating the atmosphere, avenues for businesses’ to flourish on Guyana.”
The Minister responded to claims made by former president Bharrat Jagdeo that the budget proposed by the APNU+AFC Administration copied projects and policies of the PPP/C.
“This is not a PPP budget; this could never be the PPP budget… the fact that we have addressed several issues in relation to old age pension, the fact that it is more a people-oriented budget…” The Minister said.
He noted that the former administration’s last term in Office lasted only three years and as such, there were a number of existing projects in the pipelines and as responsible Government, the new administration did not simply discard those projects. They were reviewed and fashioned into budget 2015. Importantly, he noted that many of those projects are not in the sole preserve of the PPP/C or Mr. Jagdeo as they were developed by professionals at the Ministry of Finance who are employees of the State.
Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism, Catherine Hughes, who was also part of the panel at the press briefing, reminded that in when the PPP/C took Office in 1992 they continued many of the programmes which were started by former president, the late Desmond Hoyte in 1987.
“It is the responsibility of any mature Government to be able to look at what was put in place and to review it and decide what is important and beneficial and to continue with those programmes,” she said.
Minister Hughes added that havoc can be wreaked on the economy if the Government takes the stance of discontinuing every programme that was initiated by a particular administration. She called for political maturity to prevail and for parties to work in the best interest of the country.
The $221B budget was presented on Monday in the National Assembly under the theme, “A fresh start to the good life in a green economy.” It addresses many of the promises outlined in the APNU+AFC’s 100 day plan. Some of the measures include: reduction of the Berbice Bridge toll, salary increases, tax exemptions, increase in old age pension, and expansion of the list of VAT-free items.