With respect to this, Governance of a country is integrally linked to the welfare of the citizens and their peculiar needs. When a national budget is prepared it takes into account the many factors that are basically given to extant and projected estimates. However, it is not possible to factor all configurations that may emerge from unforeseen circumstances and which may require additional financial outlay to address the needs of the people, because daily life is an evolutionary process and the needs of the people vary in accordance.
Developing countries like Guyana are resource-constrained and depend heavily on externally-funded projects to enable and accelerate its developmental programmes.
Within this framework, last Thursday the Minister of Finance tabled supplementary financial papers for the Government in the National Assembly.
This is a normal procedure used by governments worldwide when additional financial outlay is required to initiate and/or expand ongoing programmes.
However, in Guyana, the political culture is a rare and peculiar phenomenon, where supposedly intelligent professionals who comprise the collective opposition parties more frequently react negatively to any proposal from the Government to better the lives and lifestyles of the people, as has happened in this instance.
As expected, the knee-jerk reaction to the presentation of the supplemental budget estimates by Minister Dr Ashni Singh elicited a plethora of negative responses by the collective opposition.
One wonders if, just once, they could genuinely put the welfare of the people before their ambitions, use their reason and intelligently peruse the proposed expenditure and the purposes intended instead of making sweeping and unequivocal assumptions and denigrating every effort of the administration to address the needs of the people.
Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, in his presentation, said that the monies are intended to, inter alia, strengthen our sea-defences; boost the low-income housing programme; address the solid-waste disposal problem; and the Education-for-All fast-track initiative. Intended also is the promised $400m support to the rice industry. For the first time ever, the needs of our hinterland communities are being addressed in a holistic fashion, but the El Nino phenomenon is causing severe dislocations in some areas. Also, some of this proposed expenditure is intended to address the problems being currently faced by Guyana’s first people.
There are communities all across the country that urgently need additional infrastructural works done and the sufferings of the peoples of those communities are real, so it is imperative that their needs are met.
If the opposition parties had done their homework, they would have realised that a significant percentage of the supplementary amount is directly linked to projects funded by donors. This indicates that the rate of implementation is high, thus the amount budgeted in the beginning of the year is inadequate to complete project-related activities. This position of criticism of the government is amazing and it is exactly because of this approach that genuine concerns for criticisms by the Opposition are often viewed skeptically by the public.
Everyone will win that way.