Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, during the final day of the 2019 budget debate, said the opposition leader is behaving like a wounded lion and the nation ought to be aware of the propaganda the opposition is attempting to spread.
The Finance Minister pinpointed Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo for being disingenuous when he questioned the inability of government to pay higher wages and salaries despite reorganizing GuySuCo.
“The honourable Bharat Jagdeo talked about us having to give GuySuCo all of this money and now that the money gone what happen to wages and salaries… it sounds like good politics, but it is misleading. Can you imagine giving GuySuCo $38.5Billion up to the end of 2018. Then we had to turn around and find severance pay just when we thought we could have given public servants a little bit more we had to find $5Billion plus the court put a little thing on it to pay severance. We did it, we are honourable people, if the court say so, we did it.”
In addition, the Finance Minister said with the financial struggles of GuySuCo behind us, government will finally be able to pay attention to improving the livelihood of all Guyanese.
“Now, Mr. speaker, having gotten GuySuCo off our backs figuratively, we are now turning attention to the areas that we should have given attention to and that is why we can have a $300.7Billion budget and cater to everybody in a bigger way and that is why we can promise our public servants increases in 2019 even before oil,” Minister Jordan said.
Further, Minister Jordan said though the recent increases given to public servants and pensioners may be appear small in quantum, they add up to and contribute to improved standards of living for the ordinary man.
“The $1,000 given to pensioners plus public assistance is almost $1Billion. I’d like to see when we can give more, but one one dutty build dam. When we came in it was $13,500. Today, minimum wage is $64,000, the fastest rise in salaries… So fast that the private sector is calling, worried about the rise in wages saying they won’t be competitive and it would affect exports… Further, in 2019, we expect that the savings will be used in a number of areas to treat with social security, treat with pensions and more importantly treat with infrastructure. I’m sure the communities are quite happy that we are going to do their roads and other infrastructure.”
Minister Jordan brought down the curtains on debate for Budget 2019 which ended Friday December 7. Consideration of the estimates will begin Monday next.