Guyana has finally arrived in the big league! The Finance Minister announced the economy grew by about 2% for the first half 2017, a level reserved for fully developed economies like that of the United States. The announcement should have been that economic growth is below the 9 to 12 per cent (annually) expected from countries such as Guyana. Moreover, the government should not be proud of crowding out private and direct foreign investments.
The Minister announced that government revenue grew by around 13% or $97 billion, yet full year economic growth was revised down. To partially offset the latter, the government will increase spending to address crime and fix little bridges here and there. Where are the big projects like building tens of thousands of housing units? To entice private businesses, tax exemptions and duty free concessions should be offered on all inputs, including labour costs related to hiring young people. Separately, building a few ‘jail’ barges would have the biggest impact in the shortest time on crime ‒ no tunnel digging for sure.
Lastly, either convict or offer amnesty to repatriate those accused of political graft. Otherwise, put it on hiatus to focus on growing the economy. It is the turn of Guyanese to help Venezuelans who are the victims of political madmen. As such, small businesses should take advantage of the situation in Venezuela to assist hapless folks caught in a fight that’s taking place in a political vacuum.
The Minister should not revise down, but be creative and revise up!