McCoy talks up wise spending of oil money, support for people’s welfare
Responding to calls from the Opposition benches for the government to rearrange and reallocate its spending in the national 2022 budget, Minister of Public Affairs Kwame McCoy told the National Assembly on Monday that it was the best fiscal plan to be presented to the House in recent years.
The budget at $552.9 billion is not only the largest in the country’s history but for the first time, it is supported by oil revenues.
The opposition Members of Parliament including Chief Whip Christopher Jones, speaking just before McCoy, said the government could have done more for people’s welfare with the oil revenues now made available.
But McCoy disagreed, assuring that spending was being done prudently which would also amount to wise spending of the oil funds. He also insisted that the government was focused on improving the lives of Guyanese.
Jones urged the government to use the oil funds to make university education, as promised during the 2020 elections, free. He said the budget was disrespectful to the working class, public servants and pensions as he urged greater increases for public servants and old-age pensioners.
“This budget is putting more disposable income in the pockets of people,” McCoy rebuffed as he drew attention to the increase in the income tax threshold from $65, 000 to $75, 000.
“We paid attention to the hardships faced by people. It [the budget] is about people and making the lives of people better,” the Minister added.
He told the House that development was nothing magical and things will be incrementally done to get from one point to another.
“We will spend the oil money wisely… God knows and maybe it’s a good thing that you on the other side can’t put your hands on it,” he added.
He said the first budget was a rescue budget, the second a repaid and interventions budget and now the third budget since the PPP has returned to office seeks to bring the country to the cusp in its new wealth-generating dispensation.