Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Public Affairs, Kwame McCoy, Monday afternoon shut down Opposition Member Nima Flue-Bess’ inflated depiction of current commodity prices, brandishing recently purchased bags of sugar and oil with price tags reflecting the ‘true reality’ in the marketplace.
The Minister was at the time defending the government’s $781.9 billion budget in the National Assembly.
“The government is trying to add value to lives…and the Opposition is coming here to dramatise and give the impression that everything is so bad. This must stop now. We are busy building a country for every Guyanese, a country in which all its people will benefit. We have never had, in this country, a more responsive government than the PPP/C, a government that has been doing things for the people,” the Minister told the House.
The Minister highlighted the the PPP/C Administration’s mandate to educate, and empower Guyanese with information that is not only beneficial to their development.
He pointed to the host of measures put in place to enhance the lives of Guyanese, highlighting that this trend is set to continue with the budget allocations.
“We will make the best choices and the best decisions in keeping with the reality. It is not just about having money and spending it. We have to be prudent in our management, and that is what you can expect from this PPP/C government. We have to manage for today and for the future. We are the government that will be there for all Guyanese at all times, and we make sure that all people will progress together,” he assured.
Moreover, the Minister stated that the monies allocated through cash grants for the various vulnerable groups, as well as for the advancements in infrastructure are wrongfully declared as ‘reckless’, pointing out that these allocations will go a far way in fostering sustainable development in all sectors.
The Minister addressed the advancements already made in only two years of the PPP/C Administration’s tenure, significantly overshadowing the accomplishments of the previous government during five years in office.
In the area of housing, he drew attention to the thousands of house lots delivered in every region of the country, as well as the young professional homes built countrywide, the removal of VAT on building materials, the reduction of mortgage interest rates, and the increase of the low-income mortgage ceiling – all measures put in place to empower Guyanese to own their own homes.
Further, infrastructural development is another aspect of the budget that is in keeping with the administration’s missive to build for the future, as Minister McCoy made reference to the construction of the Linden to Mabura Hill road, the Schoonord to Crane four-lane highway, and the construction of the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, which are all major developmental projects that will have far-reaching positive impacts on the livelihood of the Guyanese people.
Minister McCoy also highlighted the advancements in the emerging health sector and government’s transformational agenda for the education sector, as well as an agriculture sector that is seeing heavy investments to ensure viability.
The Minister said, “The Guyanese people will hear comprehensible analyses of the macroeconomic parameters of Budget 2023. They will hear conclusive explanations of the fiscal programmes of the budget. We will tell them what’s in it for them, and what is in it for the country as a whole.”
“We cannot come here and tell stories that do not represent reality. These days are much more enlightened days, and we are being watched across the world. We as a government have addressed these issues. That is why you see us all over this country over and over, because we want to be in touch with people. Each minister in this room has been on more than 200 outreaches, and that is because we are committed to meeting with the people and being in touch with the people to address their issues.”
Meanwhile, he echoed the assurance that free university education will be available before the end of the administration’s first five years.
“One thing you can rest assured of with the PPP/C government, is that whatever we said we will do, that is what we will do,” the Minister assured.
Monday marked day one of the budget debates, which will continue throughout the week. [DPI]