Economists outline strategies that could better develop Guyana’s economy – urge new Government to practise good governance

GUYANESE economists have outlined strategies which the newly elected Government could employ to better develop Guyana’s economy, which of course also comes with good governance and participation of each stakeholder.This was touted on Thursday at a symposium held in the conference room of the National Library by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on “The Political and Economic Challenges ahead for Guyana.” The symposium was held to commemmorate the 35th Anniversary of the assassination of world-renowned scholar, political activist and founding party member, Dr. Walter Rodney.

 

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday


During the discussions, Professor Clive Thomas, Dr. Maurice Odle, Dr. Rishi Thakur and Dr. Turhane Doerga made reference to the failures of the past Government to implement certain economic practices which would have helped Guyana to be in a better economic position today.


Some of the topics discussed were improvement of the rice and sugar industries; plans to tackle poverty; and diversifying the economy by moving away from traditional economic activities such as rice and sugar production, mining and so forth.


Speaking to the gathering, newly appointed Presidential Advisor for Sustainable Development and popular economist, Dr. Clive Thomas, said the change of Government comes at a “pivotal time when yes, there are innumerable political [and] economic challenges, but every challenge brings an opportunity.”


Further disclosing that there are five ways in which the coalition Government can go about developing the country, Prof Thomas said these include, coalition management, the need to diversify the economy, financing for development, tackling poverty and tackling political disruption.
Zeroing in on coalition management, Prof Thomas stated that though the coalesced parties may have two different ideologies-which in some cases may cause a coalition to fall apart-they must work closely together in order to execute their functions as the government.


That apart, he elaborated on the fact that earnings generated from the various economic activities should be directed towards diversification of the economy, instead of injecting them into ventures that would not prove to be fruitful in any way.


RICE AND SUGAR
Focusing on the agricultural sector, the professor noted that $15B each would be needed for the rice and sugar industries in order to prevent the their collapse. “The Government has to ensure that their 100-day plan is met, and do their best to meet the constituencies of rice and sugar.”


Elaborating more on the ways in which the rice and sugar industries could be developed, Dr Thomas noted that the sugar industry, like the rice industry, has to be privatised in order for it to function better, because it was wrong of the previous administration not to do so.


“The private sector should be pushing the economy while the Government of the day should be handling regulations and governing the country,” he said.

 

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

 

With reference to new markets for rice and sugar, Dr Thomas said that Government must open the country by bridging the Corentyne River, which will link Guyana and Suriname, and the Takutu River, which will Link Guyana and Brazil, thereby building better relationships among the neighbouring countries.


Therefore, they must find markets and get going in order to contribute to the total re-development of the country.


Dr. Thomas also added that these two main agricultural industries are needed if the country is to go forward, because they are two of the main sources of income for the Government. “Although there is a small window of opportunity for us, we must take it and develop the industries.”


MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Meanwhile, moving away from the agricultural sector, Dr Maurice Odle outlined that the Government will now be aided by the United Nation (UN) 17 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, which will be endorsed by the International Community on September 17, 2015).


Some of the targets which are included in the MDGs include, ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, ensuring there is proper education, gender equality, which are to be achieved before 2030.
These, he stated, are some of the guidelines which the Government should follow in order to put Guyana in a positive position as it relates to the economy.


Also, “Guyana now has a possibility of changing our economy, setting our sights high to achieve a different set of expectations ,as our economy has only developed between 3-5% within the last four years, and from 2000-2015 the overall development rate was 2%… while there were 19 countries in 2000 that were able to achieve a 7% growth rate and in the coming years, Guyana should join those countries,” he said.

Original Post
Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
With reference to new markets for rice and sugar, Dr Thomas said that Government must open the country by bridging the Corentyne River, which will link Guyana and Suriname, and the Takutu River, which will Link Guyana and Brazil, thereby building better relationships among the neighbouring countries.

 

Economists outline strategies that could better develop Guyana’s economy – urge new Government to practise good governance, June 26, 2015, Source

While a link on the Takutu River is a possibility.

 

Perhaps Clive Thomas is unaware of the issues on the Corentyne River with Suriname which is uncooperative on this development.

Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
With reference to new markets for rice and sugar, Dr Thomas said that Government must open the country by bridging the Corentyne River, which will link Guyana and Suriname, and the Takutu River, which will Link Guyana and Brazil, thereby building better relationships among the neighbouring countries.

 

Economists outline strategies that could better develop Guyana’s economy – urge new Government to practise good governance, June 26, 2015, Source

While a link on the Takutu River is a possibility.

 

Perhaps Clive Thomas is unaware of the issues on the Corentyne River with Suriname which is uncooperative on this development.

Thomas sounds like Guyana has money galore.  How can Guyana bridge the Corentyne river when it belongs to  Suriname?

I have heard all these before.  Nothing new there...  They are mere words.  They are not specific enough for the Government to take note. Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.   The Previous Government have attempted to do all those things but was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of APNU/AFC.

Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

I have heard all these before.  Nothing new there...  They are mere words.  They are not specific enough for the Government to take note. Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.   The Previous Government have attempted to do all those things but was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of APNU/AFC.

Tell dem dey uncle Rama_cyant .

Originally Posted by TK:
Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

I have heard all these before.  Nothing new there...  They are mere words.  They are not specific enough for the Government to take note. Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.   The Previous Government have attempted to do all those things but was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of APNU/AFC.

Tell dem dey uncle Rama_cyant .

In am glad that you agree.  Perhaps you can through some light on what exactly the WPA was trying to say.   The WPA is a party of the intelectuals.  Why not join them.

Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:
Originally Posted by TK:
Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

I have heard all these before.  Nothing new there...  They are mere words.  They are not specific enough for the Government to take note. Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.   The Previous Government have attempted to do all those things but was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of APNU/AFC.

Tell dem dey uncle Rama_cyant .

In am glad that you agree.  Perhaps you can through some light on what exactly the WPA was trying to say.   The WPA is a party of the intelectuals.  Why not join them.

I never said I agree. Abe cyan always do projects to spite people abe na like. Wa yuh say? Like Marriott.

Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

I have heard all these before.  Nothing new there...  They are mere words.  They are not specific enough for the Government to take note. Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.   The Previous Government have attempted to do all those things but was hampered by the uncooperative attitude of APNU/AFC.

The PPP had a free hand for 20 years and the good faith of the international community to fund them but they failed. We still have a crippled electrical grid, communication infrastructure poor, health care mediocre, etc and the only thing the excelled at is thieving like brutes.

 

This government need more than economists looking for malignity here and there to mediate cost benefits. Some things are imperative, require steadfast will and laser focus. These include the need to renovate and heal the eclectically grid of line loss, thieft and poor redundancy. It needs resolute decisions to introduce alternative green energy from solar wind to biomass. And we need to bring up a country wide communication network. 

 

None of the above can be neglected in the short run and none are prohibitive to bring on line quickly. Rapid and reliable communication and energy is fundamental. It will enhance everything else including health care and crime prevention.

 

 

Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.

Generally, the practice of economists to indulge with "what ifs" rather that provide practical solutions.

 

However, there is an extremely very small number who do have their heads and minds in the desired direction.

Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:
Originally Posted by Ramakant-P:

Economists have been babbling about developments for about 50 years now yet no one is doing anything.

Generally, the practice of economists to indulge with "what ifs" rather that provide practical solutions.

 

However, there is an extremely very small number who do have their heads and minds in the desired direction.

I agree with both Dem and Ram.

 

As I said, CY is good at writing academic papers that add nothing to national development. He has always been a paper writer.  What did IDS contribute to Guyana's development?  Can anyone cite something?

 

When they start giving the "brass tacks" as people say, then they are contributing.

 

The good thing about that event is to remember the Great Walter who called Burnham "King Kong" and mocked at him at public meetings. CY is a good man too who spoke out against Burnhamism, but he is a paper academic. Hope he finds all that $$$ and not just write a paper about it.

Originally Posted by Demerara_Guy:

Economists outline strategies that could better develop Guyana’s economy – urge new Government to practise good governance

GUYANESE economists have outlined strategies which the newly elected Government could employ to better develop Guyana’s economy, which of course also comes with good governance and participation of each stakeholder.This was touted on Thursday at a symposium held in the conference room of the National Library by the Working People’s Alliance (WPA) on “The Political and Economic Challenges ahead for Guyana.” The symposium was held to commemmorate the 35th Anniversary of the assassination of world-renowned scholar, political activist and founding party member, Dr. Walter Rodney.

 

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday


During the discussions, Professor Clive Thomas, Dr. Maurice Odle, Dr. Rishi Thakur and Dr. Turhane Doerga made reference to the failures of the past Government to implement certain economic practices which would have helped Guyana to be in a better economic position today.


Some of the topics discussed were improvement of the rice and sugar industries; plans to tackle poverty; and diversifying the economy by moving away from traditional economic activities such as rice and sugar production, mining and so forth.


Speaking to the gathering, newly appointed Presidential Advisor for Sustainable Development and popular economist, Dr. Clive Thomas, said the change of Government comes at a “pivotal time when yes, there are innumerable political [and] economic challenges, but every challenge brings an opportunity.”


Further disclosing that there are five ways in which the coalition Government can go about developing the country, Prof Thomas said these include, coalition management, the need to diversify the economy, financing for development, tackling poverty and tackling political disruption.
Zeroing in on coalition management, Prof Thomas stated that though the coalesced parties may have two different ideologies-which in some cases may cause a coalition to fall apart-they must work closely together in order to execute their functions as the government.


That apart, he elaborated on the fact that earnings generated from the various economic activities should be directed towards diversification of the economy, instead of injecting them into ventures that would not prove to be fruitful in any way.


RICE AND SUGAR
Focusing on the agricultural sector, the professor noted that $15B each would be needed for the rice and sugar industries in order to prevent the their collapse. “The Government has to ensure that their 100-day plan is met, and do their best to meet the constituencies of rice and sugar.”


Elaborating more on the ways in which the rice and sugar industries could be developed, Dr Thomas noted that the sugar industry, like the rice industry, has to be privatised in order for it to function better, because it was wrong of the previous administration not to do so.


“The private sector should be pushing the economy while the Government of the day should be handling regulations and governing the country,” he said.

 

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

The gathering at the National Library on Thursday

 

With reference to new markets for rice and sugar, Dr Thomas said that Government must open the country by bridging the Corentyne River, which will link Guyana and Suriname, and the Takutu River, which will Link Guyana and Brazil, thereby building better relationships among the neighbouring countries.


Therefore, they must find markets and get going in order to contribute to the total re-development of the country.


Dr. Thomas also added that these two main agricultural industries are needed if the country is to go forward, because they are two of the main sources of income for the Government. “Although there is a small window of opportunity for us, we must take it and develop the industries.”


MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Meanwhile, moving away from the agricultural sector, Dr Maurice Odle outlined that the Government will now be aided by the United Nation (UN) 17 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs, which will be endorsed by the International Community on September 17, 2015).


Some of the targets which are included in the MDGs include, ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring healthy lives, ensuring there is proper education, gender equality, which are to be achieved before 2030.
These, he stated, are some of the guidelines which the Government should follow in order to put Guyana in a positive position as it relates to the economy.


Also, “Guyana now has a possibility of changing our economy, setting our sights high to achieve a different set of expectations ,as our economy has only developed between 3-5% within the last four years, and from 2000-2015 the overall development rate was 2%… while there were 19 countries in 2000 that were able to achieve a 7% growth rate and in the coming years, Guyana should join those countries,” he said.

Dr Clive Thomas is such a GEM, who an ocean of knowledge.  GOD bless him with LONG life.

Originally Posted by Jay Bharrat:

How come he gets more pay than the minister as the advisor?

His biggest paycheck ever ($800,000).

 

Waiting to read all his reports.

That is normal.  Advisor is eligible for BIG $$$.

 

Remember the million dollar baby Ms Gaile TXEIRA?

Originally Posted by KishanB:
Originally Posted by Jay Bharrat:

How come he gets more pay than the minister as the advisor?

His biggest paycheck ever ($800,000).

 

Waiting to read all his reports.

That is normal.  Advisor is eligible for BIG $$$.

 

Remember the million dollar baby Ms Gaile TXEIRA?

AG earns over $1.5M, Teixeira $1M

 

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall

Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall

– salaries of other officials axed from OP budget

 

In its quest to cut funding for the National Communications Network (NCN) and the Government Information Agency (GINA), the Opposition used its one-seat majority in the National Assembly to disapprove $5.1 billion budgeted for the Office of the President (OP). For the first time in Guyana’s history, the OP will have no money to facilitate administrative services or capital projects.

The A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) had first slashed $1.335 billion for current Administrative Services budgeted under the OP after Government, in their estimation, did not adequately justify why NCN and GINA were subsidised in 2013 when the House had disapproved funding.

Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira

Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira

They subsequently voted against $3.846 billion allocated for capital projects taking the total disapproved funds to $5.182 billion, out of a grand total of $6.078 billion budgeted for the OP. However, APNU and the AFC did not object to the $830.3 million for Presidential Advisory services (Cabinet and other services) and $65.1 million for Defence and National Security, which were also budgeted under the Office of the President.

Under the chairmanship of Speaker Raphael Trotman, APNU Member of Parliament (MP) Christopher Jones asked why GINA and NCN received $135.8 million and $81.3 million respectively when the National Assembly had reduced their subsidies to $1 each in 2013.

In response, Minister within the Finance Ministry, Bishop Juan Edghill said: “Mr Chairman, we relied and were guided by the Chief Justice’s ruling.” But this was an answer the Opposition was not willing to accept. APNU Shadow Finance Minister Carl Greenidge said MPs are guided by the Constitution which orders the National Assembly to approve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund.

AFC MP Cathy Hughes grilling Minister Edghill during Tuesday’s consideration of the budget

AFC MP Cathy Hughes grilling Minister Edghill during Tuesday’s consideration of the budget

“I am not aware that in the Chief Justice’s decision anywhere he has appropriated for himself, authorisation to spend. He cannot himself, as far as I am aware, authorise the House to spend any monies whatsoever,” Greenidge told the Committee of Supply.

In defence of Government’s action, Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General Anil Nandlall told the Committee of Supply that he had offered his legal opinion on whether the slashed funds could have been restored following a request by the Cabinet. Referencing Article 218:3 of the Constitution, the Attorney General told the Committee of Supply that the Finance Minister has the powers to do two things: one, solicit monies from the Consolidated Fund by tabling a Supplementary Provision or submit to the National Assembly a Statement of Excess detailing how those monies have been spent.

 

Statement of Excess

“I am aware that, the Statement of Excess has been presented in relation to wherever there was a restoration of the monies cut…,” the AG added.

Greenidge, in response, denied having knowledge that Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh had tabled a Statement of Excess. He further told his colleagues on both sides that the Constitution does not allow for monies to be used from the Consolidated Fund without approval from the House.

He said, too, that such was conditional on matters being urgent, arguing that by no means the payment of wages and salaries could be deemed urgent.

“Given the unconstitutional action by the Government, given the fact that a figure is shown in these estimates which was not approved by the House, we are not going to approve this item at all. And if that has consequences to the approval of the head as a whole, so let it be,” Greenidge said. He had set the tone for the Opposition.

But before voting on the current expenditure for Administrative Services, AFC MP Cathy Hughes, along with her colleagues, capitalised on the opportunity to bombard Edghill with a flurry of questions on the financial affairs of NCN and GINA. While Edghill has pledged to provide financial details and other information on GINA, he gave members a breakdown of the spending of the $134 million given to the entity in 2013.

 

Wages

For the 39 employees attached to the agency, wages and salaries accounted for $77.8 million. Edghill noted that this year Government was asking for $79.6 million to cater for a five per cent increase. Under other charges, $58 million was used, with $60 million being sought this year.

He also disclosed that the Auditor General has submitted the 2004-2007 Auditor’s report, noting that the audit for 2008 is currently being done. However, he added, that all the financial reports for the Information Agency have been submitted to the Auditor General’s Office.

Meanwhile, the disapproval would affect the salaries of top OP officials including Presidential Advisor on Governance, Gail Teixeira who earns over $1 million monthly and Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon who gets $983,000.

Guyana Times was told that Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall also earns over $1.5 million per month. While his salary details and that of several other ministers did not feature during the budget consideration thus far, reports are that this might be done soon.

Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Bishop, Juan Edghill who provided the information also disclosed that the lowest paid worker at OP is a typist clerk earns a salary of $43,000.  Back in 2010, Teixeira earned a monthly salary of $800,969 and by 2012 it had reportedly increased to $967,985.  In the top ten, the Presidential Advisor on Governance is followed by Dr Luncheon.

The Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment, Odinga Lumumba receives a salary of $735,553.  The Director General of the Civil Defence Commission Ret’d Chabilall Ramsarup has a monthly salary of $728, 887 while the Presidential Advisor on Sport Neil Kumar is paid $721, 000. He is followed by the Divisional Head $648, 402, the Senior Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet $552,333; Coordinator of Public Information $551, 214; Administrator $525, 000 and Advisor on Sustainable Development, Navin Chandarpal $496, 125.

Turning his attention to NCN, Edghill, after being grilled, told the Committee that in 2013, the state broadcaster earned $476.6 million. Coupled with the subvention, NCN received $557 million. NCN has a staff complement of 236 – 177 permanent workers and 59 temporary workers. But despite the Minister’s attempt to justify the spending, the Opposition moved ahead with its decision to vote against monies for the OP.

It subsequently voted against the $3.8 million budgeted for capital projects. AFC MP Moses Nagamootoo questioned why the Government did not delink NCN and GINA from important items, given the concerns the Opposition has with regard to the entities and the “use of taxpayers’ money to fund these entities for partisan political purposes”.

 

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