Budget seeks to expand economic base
Guyana Chronicle
March 25, 2002

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The 2002 Budget has come and we are left to ponder what it has in store for us, the small people? Persons are saying that we have no new increases for the year but let us look at the real issues. Income increase is not at all times the only means of gaining from Budget.

In a growing global economy where the focus is on a single market, the government has to made provisions for the sustainability of our international markets. This would cater for long-term jobs, and a sustainable economy for the long term.

They have embarked upon restructuring and expanding the economic base of our country by focusing on our traditional and non-traditional agricultural products.

Sugar - A US$110 M project will help to increase cultivating of sugar and at the same time cater for value added output for sugar by using packages expected to have a longer shelf life. Additionally, since the global demand is on organic products, the budget caters for GUYSUCO to manufacture organically grown sugar and the acquisition of new markets for sugar. Brazil is a recent market for our sugar thanks to negotiations by the government.

This will make the industry more competitive and viable in the international market. This is what we need, a means of securing our markets.

Rice - this industry will also be given financial assistance, which will aid in its competitive strength in the global economy. Again the government has bargained for financial assistance from the European Union.

Tourism - this sector will also be a major focus and the government is expected to spend a lot of money (US $1.8 M) to increase its viability since it will create additional employment. A number of persons, especially in the interior regions are expected to benefit from this sector.

Our school children will benefit from rehabilitation, modernisation and creation of facilities to their schools. This includes the acquisition of new textbooks and information technology facilities for schools. Training is also a major focus for the education sector.

Housing - the development and regularisation of housing schemes is of major importance in this budget. With the aim of allowing every young Guyanese to posses his own home, this year's budget will allow the Deeds Registry to be fully computerised with the aim of speeding up the ownership process. An additional $5.4 B will be invested in low-income settlement project making it easier to own your own homes.

Dear Guyanese, let us look at a wider picture when we scrutinize an issue. An increase in salary without the necessary support from economic indicators such as, reduced inflation is not going to benefit anyone. The government has targeted inflation to be 5%, which is relatively low, and a good indicator of the strength of our economy. Let us not seek to increase this rate, instead let us focus on long-term growth and development.