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David Granger on Budget 2014

David Granger on Budget 2014

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“The Budget, despite its promise – A better Guyana for all Guyanese – is more likely to degenerate into a bitter Guyana for most Guyanese…This Budget is dangerously dividing Guyana into two nations. It is creating an East-West divide that separates everything West of the Essequibo River from what lies to the East.”
“The Budget, despite its promise – A better Guyana for all Guyanese – is more likely to degenerate into a bitter Guyana for most Guyanese…This Budget is dangerously dividing Guyana into two nations. It is creating an East-West divide that separates everything West of the Essequibo River from what lies to the East.”

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Published by: Brigadier David Granger on Apr 10, 2014
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David Granger on the 2014 Budget
This Budget is dangerously dividing Guyana into two nations – Granger
“It is not for workers, it is not for the young, it is not for the aged, it is anti-poor, anti- people and anti-progress, it is driven by politics, not economics,” Granger.
 
Kaieteur News, April 9, 2014
“The Budget, despite its promise – A better Guyana for all Guyanese – is more likely to degenerate into a bitter Guyana for most Guyanese…This Budget is dangerously dividing Guyana into two nations. It is creating an East-West divide that separates everything West of the Essequibo River from  what lies to the East.” Those were the words of Leader of the Political Opposition, Brigadier (rtd) David Granger, who was the final speaker at the western end of the chambers to make a presentation to the 2014 Budget debates. Granger in expanding on his charge that the Budget seeks to divide the nation used as examples the allocations for physical infrastructure. “The roads to be repaired are mainly in the East Bank, West Coast, East Coast… not in the rich gold and diamond mining areas. This Budget perpetuates the divergences, disparities and divisions which have hindered development in our country.” The Opposition Leader was adamant that the hinterland underdevelopment crisis adumbrated by APNU Members of Parliament, will not correct itself. Granger charged that the Potaro-Siparuni Region, the Barima-Waini and Cuyuni-Mazaruni Regions to the north and the Rupununi Region to the South, might be the most picturesque parts of the country, but they are the poorest. He told the House that the hinterland communities do not need
 
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 baubles, beads, toys and trinkets. “The hinterland, like everywhere else, needs reliable services such as community-based solar and wind, water and electricity generation.”  According to Granger, the national budget must provide for regional administrative centres for places like Bartica, Mahdia, Mabaruma and Lethem and called for them to be quickly upgraded to township status with their own mayors and town councils. “We must stop treating the hinterland as bush.”
Financial plan
 The Opposition leader in his presentation said that budget 2014 did nothing to inspire hope, and added that a bold budget was needed to move the country forward at a faster pace. “Every budget is a plan, an economic plan, a financial plan… It must be forward, not backward looking if it is to be of any  value.” He was adamant that a budget must have a clear vision, “a projection of what needs to be done tomorrow to solve today’s problems and the resources to achieve those objectives…It is not a recapitulation of previous administrations.” The Minister said that what the Budget did do “is throw a few crumbs to schoolchildren and pensioners that might please some of the people some of the time.” According to Granger, the Budget continues the neglect of youth education, employment and enterprise. “The PPP spends like a drunken sailor on a lot of little projects like the President’s Youth Choice Initiative and the President’s Youth Award Republic of Guyana, Youth Enterprise and Apprenticeship Programme; National Training Programme for Youth Empowerment – but it does not measure the impact of these schemes on careers and jobs for young graduates. What young people want are permanent institutions not ad hoc programmes.” The Budget, according to Granger, must include real measures that provide work for more young people. “The basic fact that all parties acknowledge about Budget 2014 is that there is little that it will, or can, change, for the mass of the young people…Young school leavers simply do not have the skills to equip many of them for the world of work…The economy simply is not providing employment opportunities for them,” said Granger.
Poverty 
 The Opposition Leader conceded that Guyana, arguably, has never been wealthy, but the appearance of hordes of extremely poor, destitute, homeless persons and street children over the PPPC’s two decades is a man-made catastrophe. “Poverty is not an act of God…Poverty can be reduced and, perhaps, eventually eradicated, with good governance and sensible public policies.” The Opposition Leader said that Budget 2014 will be measured by its public impact and APNU reserves its right to disagree with provisions which are not in the national interest. He said that there is no way the country can move forward with such a budget that continues to disregard the needs of the most important factor in national development, the people. Granger was adamant that the budget must be amended if the people are to enjoy a good life. “APNU signals that it disagrees with certain measures which have been proposed…When the questions are put, we shall exercise our constitutional right to express an agreement or disagreement,” Granger asserted.
 
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 Anti-poor
The House will from today and over the course of the next seven working days, resolve into a Committee of Supply and scrutinize each estimate line by line and the voting will begin. The Opposition Leader in his presentation to the 2014 debates was adamant that Budget 2014 is not a  budget for the poor. “It is not for workers, it is not for the young, it is not for the aged, it is anti-poor, anti-people and anti-progress, it is driven by politics, not economics,” argued Granger. He said that the 2014 Budget re-emphasises the need to establish, as early as possible, a parliamentary ‘Office of the Budget.’ “We need to build a permanent institution…We need to ensure that all sides of this National Assembly could comprehensively propose national measures needed for national development.”  According to the Opposition Leader, with the presentation of the 2014 Budget it is clear that the Minister of Finance must be given the information and insights that are so desperately deficient in Main Street (Finance Ministry). Granger maintained that the budget does not provide the resources to transform the beautiful rhetoric of the Finance Minister, when he spoke, into reality.
Budget 2014 must be amended if people are to enjoy a good life
…says Opposition Leader David Granger
 
Guyana Chronicle, April 8, 2014
LEADER of the Opposition in Parliament Mr. David Granger said last night that the 2014 Budget must be amended if the ordinary Guyanese is to ever enjoy a good life. Speaking at the end of the general debate on the 2014 Budget, Granger said that A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) disagreed with certain measures which have been proposed. He said, “When the questions are put, we shall exercise our constitutional right to express agreement or disagreement.” He called on the government to reduce the Value Added Tax, reduce income tax and generate jobs for school leavers. He said, “We now have a new dispensation in which the APNU and Alliance For Change (AFC) can combine to save this budget. We must now work towards giving our people a good life.” During a forty-five minute presentation, Granger observed that the National Assembly had met and deliberated upon a budget that avoided even one mention of the word ‘poverty’; or ‘unemployment’ or ‘emigration’. He asked rhetorically: “For which country has this budget been written? Whose budget is this?” He maintained that no single person or party knows everything. He said, “Budget 2014 re-emphasises the need to establish, as early as possible, a parliamentary ‘Office of the Budget.’ We need to build a permanent institution. We need to ensure that all sides of this National Assembly could comprehensively propose national measures needed for national development.” He said that government cannot exclude the majority side from contributing to the preparation of such an important measure as the budget. He said that APNU knows the micro-economic fundamentals such as stagnant wages, rampant cost-of-living increases and rising child-care costs by which people live every day.

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