Opposition’s governance matrix led to significant economic declines – Pres. Ali

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

President, Dr Irfaan Ali has pointed to the opposition’s abysmal track record in governance, which saw significant declines in a number of sectors and industries across Guyana.

This analysis comes on the heels of the government’s transformational $1.146 trillion 2024 budget, which has been heavily criticized by the opposition.

Speaking during a live broadcast on Friday evening, President Ali said that the 2024 budget is just one component of an overarching holistic plan that is coming to fruition.

Examining the opposition’s tenure in Office, he recalled that the sugar and forestry industries saw a dramatic dive.

“The aggregate production contracted by $21 billion. That means that the production level, in monetary value, contracted by $21 billion. The forestry sector declined by $31 billion under the APNU+AFC government,” he said.

The bauxite industry experienced a similar decline during this period, dropping by some $9 billion.

“This represents, between sugar, forestry and bauxite alone, from when they took it to when they handed it back, a decline of $61.5 billion, or 8 per cent of the 2019 GDP,” President Ali added.

This downward spiral was replicated in other extractive industries, and the within private sector, leading to declines in investment.

Added to this, 200 new tax measures were imposed on private businesses and consumers under the APNU+AFC government, taking disposable income out of the pockets of Guyanese.

“The people in 2019 had to pay an average of 22 cents on every dollar earned, while in 2014, when they came into government, the people were only paying 15 cents on every dollar earned. It is important for our population to understand this. The level of consumption during the five years of the APNU+AFC government reduced by $77 billion. In fact, as a share of the GDP, private consumption fell from 82.7 per cent to 53 per cent by the end of 2019. What this means is that our people were spending less. They didn’t have the resources to spend,” the president bemoaned.

With the budget debates slated to begin next week, the President challenged the opposition to bring their facts and defend this track record.

“In the banking sector, non-performing loans, between 2014 and 2019, moved to 14 per cent. Non-performing loans increased by $1.9 billion to $10.6 billion. This means that an additional two out of every ten persons couldn’t find the wherewithal to finance their mortgage. This is in their five years. That is the legacy they left. That is the foundation we had to build from,”

Contrastingly, President Ali reminded that the PPP/C government has carefully crafted a legacy that promotes greater peace and prosperity, ushering in a new era of modernisation and development. [DPI]