Hamilton defends Budget 2022, says gov’t has a proven track record

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Almost a week after the government presented the country’s largest national budget totalling $552.9 billion, the government has rebuffed arguments that central government and the private sector lack the capacity to fully implement the fiscal plan by December 31, 2022.

The highly anticipated budget debates opened in the National Assembly Monday morning with Opposition Parliamentarian Amanza Walton-Desir who criticised the increase in funding for capital projects, now totalling roughly $218 billion, noting her concern with the in-country capacity to match the “massive increase.”

“How it is that the government intends to execute the massive infrastructure program in the next 10 months?” she questioned.

But Minister of Labour Joesph Hamilton, who followed as the second speaker, said the Opposition has failed to present itself as ‘the government in waiting’ and as such has no authority to question the capacity of the government.

“Unelectable” Hamilton described the APNU+AFC, saying that they squandered the opportunity to govern the country when they were elected in 2015.

“When in Opposition they come like bright people but when in government they were the dullest of the dull… when they were in government the evidence suggests it was a blackout,” Hamilton rebutted.

He said the APNU+AFC’s track record is one that is premised on a lack of capacity but argued that just 18 months after the PPP returned to the government, it has proven that it can work with stakeholders like the private sector to achieve much in spite of existing challenges.

Walton-Desir referenced the latest reporting from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) where it noted that Guyana’s public sector investment has an estimated efficiency gap of 41%.

She said the government has not shown what it intends to spend money on and has in turn shown what they value; that value she said is not one for the ordinary man and the working class.

As such, she urged the government to reallocate and rearrange the budget.

But Hamilton was not intent on taking this lecture saying instead that it was the APNU+AFC that imposed hardships on people by increasing tuition at the university and sullying the country’s image on the international stage.

“Under your tenure, we were an oil-producing nation and you didn’t train anybody to work in oil and gas and now you coming and tell us what to do,” Hamilton added.

“Evidence always speaks for itself. Not the flattering and fluttering… what you have in the Opposition is a barnyard of headless yard fowls,” Hamilton added.

On the topic of taxes, Hamilton claimed that the APNU+AFC government colluded with expatriate companies to deliberately ensure taxes were not paid.

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