The 2009 budget that was presented by the Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh was a good one. It increases the size of the budget to $129 billion, increasing spending in education, health, water and roads. The only expectation of the people which was not fulfilled in the budget, was an increase in the income tax threshold, which remains at $35,000 monthly.
The budget came against the background of a world recession. This is causing millions of people to lose their homes and their pension funds, banks to declare bankruptcy, big industries to close and workers to suffer retrenchment. In Guyana there is no such thing. There is no retrenchment, or people losing homes, or banks declaring bankruptcy, or industries closing down. People whose pension funds are invested in Clico have been assured by the President that their investments are safe.
The opposition parties, namely the PNCR and the AFC are doubting that such a budget will achieve its objects. They are questioning the growth rate of 2008 and the projected growth rate for 2009. The inflation rate is also under question.
While other countries will face severe economic setbacks, Guyana will move ahead with many projects which will benefit poor people. Wage increases have been assured in 2009.