GUYANA: Budget 2022 – Flattering To Deceive – commentary

Comparatively speaking, this year’s budget is almost double that of last year’s with a staggering 43.4 percent increase. Similarly, national growth is forecasted to be 47.5 percent, also a fantastic number. It gives the impression that Guyana is on the move, and one where the man-in-the-street is the early beneficiary of this country’s oil wealth embedded in what is now fashionable to call the oil budget. As usual, truth is the first casualty of political scoundrels, long versed in couching serious matters in numbers that are supposed to inspire confidence, but fall short of that particular objective.           

There are all this budgetary and growth increases in the air, and Guyanese still labour to figure out what is in it for them. Not well-established and well-provided for comrades in the bosom and the commercial sector, but regular citizens who are left openmouthed at the stinginess of the Government’s provisions for them in this sprawling budget. Certainly, the Government has earmarked billions for multiple sectors, but it is miserly and cheap to the point where run-of-the-mill Guyanese are forced to be content with nickels and dimes. For here it is in a time of plenty the Government’s budget left vital areas where it could have improved the lot of empty-handed Guyanese in a state of powerful disgust.

Old Age Pensions went up by a mere $3,000 (app US$15) a month, which is considered generous. It would be a rejected tip for a cup of coffee, where the big people sup in Guyana. The income tax threshold should have been doubled to aid lower income Guyanese workers and different tiers of them, but that was a scant $10,000 (app US$50) upward move; if the Government was really interested in prioritising the wretched in this country, those numbers have to have more bite. Instead, it is a few pennies for paupers, and plenty for insiders and those standing by to exploit the opportunities facilitated by Government’s largesse for them. There is GuySuCo receiving $6 billion in new money added to the $30 billion already spent, gas to energy almost $21 billion, education $74.4 billion, and public safety and the security sector almost $48 billion.

All those areas offer rich pickings for the well-incentivized private sector to capitalise still more, at the expense of Guyanese who need more. More importantly, and as all Guyanese should know, those areas and those hundreds of billions present endless openings to rip-off taxpayers, and rob them blind. It has happened before, and now with corruption again on the rise, it is open season for siphoning significant amounts of those budgetary allocations, through the contract award process, and the public works that it is supposed to address. Somehow, those projects always end up on the shabby and sordid side, as in poorly executed, barely holding up, and little value for money.

We learned of increased grants for children, by itself encouraging, but which could have been better handled in advance tax credits, if only to stave off the corruptions that have been part and parcel of grant monies and relief monies. There is more money to feed the less than one percent people in this country, which means more skullduggeries and stealing. It also means that there should have been more for the little people who lose hope that they will get something palpable from this oil money.

The Government is aggressive with projections for GUYSUCO and rice, with those almost doubling, and the fishing sector is given a boost with similar optimism dominant. Somebody is gaming these numbers, selling gullible citizens a pig in a poke, several of them. With all this paper wealth sloshing about, hard-up citizens should have received a fairer share. And with all that budget money in play, it is feeding frenzy time in selected PPP/C and private sector ranks. What difference is this oil making for those at the bottom?

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  • Pedro  On 02/04/2022 at 8:17 am

    I see the budget as the first positive one in over 3 decades, and the money is there to see all the good things happen. So far the NEW🤔😐PPP has done in 10 months, more than was promised and done I 30 years.The finally judgement is still out, as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we Guyanese hungry bad, bad. ,Money from past two years,still trickling, up to end of2021, but it still gave us over 600 million US, in the so called oil ac.this year or is going to be three times as last year, and the revenue in 2022 will more than double,the amount,a tsunami of wealth, and this will cotinue to nearly double each year by 2025.From then on the income from oil will be unbelievable, so wait and see how it is spent,and will enough be saved,for when th oil starts to run down, in the latter part of the twenty first century. Or not!!!

  • theonly  On 02/07/2022 at 1:47 pm

    Total nonsense from a S O S. (drill and pump baby)

  • Emily  On 02/08/2022 at 2:39 pm

    Guyanese were begging us in the Diaspora to install this kleptocratic and corrupt government. Too bad.

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