MINISTER of Finance Dr Ashni Singh, this week, is expected to present, in Parliament, the 2021 National Budget, and the nation looks forward to the projects, plans and policies that the State will fund through this year with great anticipation, expecting much progressive thinking in it because of the minds behind its drafting, in Minister Singh and Vice-President Bharrat Jagdeo. Along with the budget team and staff, these two leaders worked hard and smart to design the 2021 National Budget in the backdrop of a global environment of the COVID pandemic, worldwide economic contraction from COVID lockdown measures, and with the nation’s oil and gas sector fully up and running. Despite the pandemic scenario, the 2021 National Budget is an exciting advent, with its goal of unleashing tremendous and historic Guyanese socio-economic progress. The budget would drive the national impetus to grow the GDP with historic record leaps and bounds, bringing Guyana’s wealth ranking among nations of the 21st century world to a new high. These are exciting, historic, optimistic times for the Guyanese nation, and the best economic minds in the country, Minister Singh and Vice- President Jagdeo, are the brains behind the 2021 Budget, and it is heart-warming to know that these leaders would also be in charge of implementing the budget measures for the next year. 2021 promises to be Guyana’s best year ever in its history, and the budget, on Friday, will kick start this exciting new era of Guyana’s progressive development.
Coming after five years of the Coalition hoisting draconian, oppressive, austerity budgets upon the backs of Guyanese, and after the September 2020 Emergency Budget of the President Ali-government, this 2021 Budget is the first real annual progressive, development-focused package of State initiatives in six years. Guyana weathered the storm of the Coalition’s dense lack of understanding of basic socio-economic wisdom, and even battled through and won against the Coalition’s harsh assault on the democratic fabric. Following the last five years of really bad, terrible governance – which saw the Coalition hoicking a mammoth 200 new taxes on the backs of ordinary citizens, this 2021 National Budget brings a new promise and great relief to the nation, building upon the work started with the September 2020 Emergency Budget. Every Guyanese looks forward to Minister Singh’s presentation in Parliament. It will be the day that history records as the start of Guyana’s move into a position of glory and global prominence, as a country that achieves its vast potential. It is as if the nation for all its history, and for all of the 55 years since Independence, has been waiting for this moment. This moment is what Dr Cheddi Jagan worked his entire life for, in ensuring Guyana functions as a full-fledged democracy, and for this kind of progress and development of the people. Also, in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), a political party that became more of a socio-economic movement for the Guyanese nation over the past half century, always battling to keep the country democratic and progressive and peaceful, this moment is a rewarding result. All Guyanese could take an example from this movement’s decades of perseverance, mammoth sacrifices, and eternal belief in the nation’s destiny, to dedicate their days to the national cause.
This national cause of the government is a well-balanced approach to achieve massive economic progress and development, to institute humane social programmes across every corner of the society, and to provide the physical infrastructure necessary for Guyanese to build their communities. The budget will establish new communities across the land, with new highways, new mega projects, new schools, new thinking. There will be massive incentives for the private sector to escalate investments in the country, and to become a more robust engine of development, and there will be a plan for full engagement of the Guyanese diaspora around the world, both to invest in the homeland, but also to market the Guyana brand worldwide and to partner with local businesses and organisations. This 2021 Budget is founded on a national vision, for it is not just an annual financial plan. The vision is laid out in the elections manifesto of the government, and includes a whopping 50,000 new jobs over the next five years, the roll out of a country-wide digital network to equip and empower individual Guyanese with real time high-speed connection to the global internet, and the implementation of a sustainable development agenda.
These are broad areas of the vision, with the entire package of programmes, projects and development policy a comprehensive and packed agenda for government over the next year, but stretching into the full five-year term of this administration. The State will be busy this year after this budget presentation. Much of the work is already underway, through the 2020 Emergency Budget, and 2021 will install the goals of this visionary, futuristic, progressive government.
The presentation will reveal the exciting path Guyana is embarking upon, and Guyanese are assured that the best team in the country is in charge of governance and implementation of these budget goals. Minister Singh has laid the ground work well, with adjustments to the country’s monetary policy, raising the financial ceiling for foreign capital generation to $650B and the local ceiling to $500B. This will open the avenue for serious and historic financial capital to be pumped into the local economy, thus ensuring resources are adequately available for the great vision that is unfolding over Guyana’s destiny. For every Guyanese, these are exciting times, especially as the government gets ready to present its budget, which would be a roadmap for the new future that has opened up for this country.