PPP/C serious about transparency, developing Guyana for all citizens – Minister Bharrat
Coming under heavy criticism from the parliamentary opposition during the ongoing budget debate, the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) has found itself defending its policies and programmes even as comparisons are regularly made to the record of the former APNU+AFC Coalition government.
When the penultimate day of the debates opened on Thursday, it was no different with APNU+AFC Parliamentarian Coretta McDonald accusing the government of failing to address the plight of the small man in its $781.9 billion fiscal plan.
She claimed there would be a concerted effort by the governing PPP/C to ensure that benefits go to their friends, family and favourites.
This assertion was rejected by Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat, who noted the government’s seriousness in ensuring accountability and transparency.
Speaking about his sector, he singled out the government’s move to stick with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) model which promotes the open and accountable management of oil, gas, and mineral resources.
Additionally, he reminded of the enactment of the Natural Resource Fund Act a year ago to once again ensure accountability in the utilization of oil funds.
But McDonald also sought to pour cold water on the PPP/C’s achievement in government over the last two years, saying it was nothing short of liberating the working class.
To this, Bharrat reminded of the government’s part-time job initiative where some 10, 000 Guyanese have gained employment.
“…these are mostly women. What did you do? Nothing!
“You criticise the $40, 000 but it’s better than nothing. It is a transition, a springboard,” he added.
Bharrat also sought to demolish the argument of failure to ensure inclusivity and fairness, pointing out that in the predominantly East Indian populated Region Six, there is a 50/50 Afro and Indo-Guyanese employment rate.
Bharrat said the government was not surprised by the hate speech of the APNU+AFC Opposition since the Budget Debate commenced on Monday.
“The new excuse is they didn’t have oil and gas money. ‘Oh, we couldn’t do that because we didn’t have oil and gas’.
“…but from 1992 to 2015, we didn’t have no oil and gas money,” the Minister said as he called on the coalition to show its accomplishments while in office 2015 – 2020 where some $1.5 trillion was spent in budgetary allocations.
He said since the return of the PPP/C government in 2020, the forestry, bauxite and gold mining sectors have all seen expansions.
Bharrat assured that the government will continue to incentivize the other extractive sectors.