Badal criticises President’s ‘Decade of Development’ plans

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Businessman Robert Badal, Presidential Candidate for the political party Change Guyana, has said President David Granger’s plans to digitise Guyana contradicts his Government’s failure to liberalize the telecommunications sector.

In a statement on Friday, Badal pointed to the President’s New Year’s message in which he outlined his plans for the next decade in the areas of petroleum, education, environment and digitisation.

“His emphasis on a Digital State contradicts his government’s failure in liberalizing the Telecommunications Sector, his policy of import taxes and VAT on cellphones. In fact, there have been no investments under his tenure in getting us to 4G internet speeds, in some parts of Guyana we are still at 2G,” Badal said in his statement.

He said the plans outlined in the President’s message shows an obvious contradiction between the government’s plan and performance over the past four and a half years.

The President in his New Year’s Day message titled “A happy Decade of Development” said Guyanese can expect a higher quality of life. The President said economic growth will accelerate with oil production, education and healthcare which will continue to improve, employment opportunities will be available, crime will be reduced and energy supply will be extended to more rural and hinterland communities.

While he highlighted that the country will transition towards a Green State, a Digital State and an Education Nation, specific plans to achieve these goals were not highlighted.

Badal said relating to the Green State Development strategy, this has gone nowhere further than painting government buildings in green. He pointed out that electricity is still being generated from heavy fuel oil instead of LNG and high taxes still discourages persons from acquiring electric vehicles.

According to Badal, the government’s failure to enact legislation or even a policy on local content despite continuous calls from the Private Sector along with the lack of transparency surrounding oil contracts, shows that plans for the Petroleum sector are merely there “with the purpose to deceive.”

As it relates to education, the government he said has failed to implement a youth development policy

“The hierarchy of his administration is filled with retired Army personnel instead of bright young men and women. Like his predecessors in the PPP, his administration’s record is to tokenized our youths instead of giving them their rightful place at the table,” Badal said.

The businessman posited that the President has made no mention of a Green Revolution to diversify and expand agriculture or a programme of industrialization using Guyana’s gas resources or value-added initiatives from the bauxite, forestry or agricultural resources for job creation.

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