Give Guyana a chance to develop To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
November 20, 2001

The Finance Ministry recently held a press conference to update the nation on the activities of this sector and to clarify any question that the nation might have on issues relating to its operations.

The Minister of Finance noted that the 2001 budget was a people friendly budget. Initially this statement made me wonder how this is so. But looking at the main issues closely I realized that given the circumstances in the economy and the world at large, the Ministry has done well.

Permit me to emphasise a few of the substantial benefits emanating from the Ministry's press conference because I don't think they are given enough credit.

1. The main element of any budget that the working class person wants to know about is the tax structure. In the budget, there were no new taxes on income for the working class. And since this is the main source of Government revenue, this was a tremendous move by the Government to reduce the tax burden from the working class. This meant that individuals now had that additional income to use otherwise. For example, it could have been channelled towards investment, alternative spending or saving.

2. Another great achievement of this year's plan is the investment of $18.1 billion in a Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP). This catered for the modernisation, restructuring, expansion and upgrading, through training of staff, for the public sector.

* From this programme, buildings were upgraded and new ones, where possible, were built.

* After basic need assessments and analysis were completed (to determine where spending should be directed); the expansion of various governmental agencies, corporations and ministries was accomplished.

* Restructuring to facilitate efficiency was also advocated. This would assist in making us better equipped to relate with the international community. An example of the restructuring process is the division of the former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which separated Foreign Trade from Foreign Affairs, which would help us to specialize and become more efficient within the perspective of a global economy.

* From this restructuring came the introduction of additional employment for our economy. This is a further positive for us, especially for graduates from the University of Guyana. Training of staff of the Public Sector was also increased, with help in the use of modern and upgraded facilities.

As all of us know, the world is rapidly changing with the advent of globalisation and trade liberalisation and to keep up, Guyana needs to be constantly restructuring and training its human resource base.

The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry of Finance made this possible, with the investment in the PSIP, but somehow the media coverage was not as substantial and the amount of credit due was not given.

Further, the issue of income tax removal from the budget is another issue not highlighted enough, The tax removal was not for 2001 alone, checks would reveal that in recent years income tax was omitted.

So concerned Guyanese, please look a little deeper in the issues. Let's stop dwelling on the negative aspects of all things. Let's resort to cooperate and give our country a chance to develop. I doubt the government would deliberately set out to destroy our country. After all, this is where we all call home.