Category: Speeches

04 Mar
By: Tanika Jones 0

Minister of Finance delivers feature address at Guyana Mining Day in Canada’s biggest mining event – PDAC

Finance Minister tells Canada’s largest mining Convention Guyana is focused on retooling and reforming the sector, wants more than just increased declarations

Local miners, international mining companies, businesses, investors, prospectors and government officials converged yesterday at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Canada for the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Convention (PDAC).

Mining companies in Guyana were showcased at a special event called Guyana Mining Day – Guyana in Focus.

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan who delivered the feature address to a packed room that included analysts, mining executives and geologists said there is an urgent need for governments to devise a strategy for mining that includes consideration for the environment and cultures that are affected by mining activities.

He further told the gathering that oil production is on target for the first quarter of 2020 but it could be advanced to the last quarter of this year.

Minister Jordan said that while the focus is on oil, much work is being done to make all of Guyana’s productive sectors remain competitive and therefore, retooling and reforming of the mining sector is critical. He added that local stakeholders agree that that if our natural resources are managed well, they can change the economic fortunes of the country.

He underscored government’s commitment to reform through the development of a National Mineral Sector Policy Framework which addresses issues of enforcement, compliance, incentives and competitiveness among other critical issues.

The Finance Minister closed his address by highlighting the benefits of investing in Guyana’s mining sector. Those benefits include the protection of investments by the Constitution and laws; a progressive royalty regime for small and medium producers, access to credit, a ready workforce and no restrictions on the repatriation of profits, dividends and other earned income.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Raphael Trotman in brief remarks to the audience pointed out that “Guyana is currently one of the best investment destinations in the world” and added that his Ministry has ‘well established operating rules that provide a safe operating environment for all investors, and flexibility to establish the infrastructure and operations necessary to enable success in their investments.”

Also speaking at the event were Guyana’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ms. Clarissa Riehl, Ms. Lilian Chatterjee, Canada’s High Commissioner to Guyana and former US Ambassador and Senior Vice President of Guyana Goldfields, Perry Holloway.

PDAC which runs from March 3rd to 6th, is a platform that allows miners and prospectors to showcase their work. Presentations were made by Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Goldsource Mines Incorporated, Reunion Gold, Avalon Gold Exploration, Sandsprings/ETK, Matallica Commodities and Guyana Goldstrike Incorporated.

The Guyana Mining Day was conceptualised by Guyana Goldfields and is now hosted by the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana through Go-Invest.

-END-

Also read:

Remarks by Hon. Raphael G.C. Trotman, M.P Minister of Natural Resources Guyana Mining Day
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26 Feb
By: Tanika Jones 0

Guyana National Shipping Corporation Commissioning of Modern Warehouse

Remarks delivered by Hon Winston Jordan
Minister of Finance

Mr. Chairman
Members of the Board of Directors
Management and Staff
Members of the Media
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning.

I am extremely honored to have been invited to join the Board of Directors, Management and staff of Guyana National Shipping Corporation and all of the other special invitees at the commissioning of this new and modern warehouse. As you would have recognized from the agenda, today’s ceremony is very short, yet poignant, both in terms of the growth and development of GNSC and the advancement of our economy over the coming years.

I understand that the construction of this warehouse is a part of the company’s Strategic Plan that was developed to make it more relevant, more profitable and to enhance service delivery. Therefore, I want to take the opportunity to applaud the Board of Directors and Management for this initiative because, in the changing business environment and with the advancements in technology, companies must respond to and/or adapt quickly to changing customers’ needs, in order to remain relevant and successful in their business and to stand out among their competitors.

It is now globally accepted that, in order to provide efficient Marine Transportation Service, efficient warehouse management is paramount. In particular, an efficient warehouse service must have enough space to perform its inbound and outbound functions, in a timely manner and at the least possible cost. And so, it is my hope that with this new facility will add one more to the attributes that make GNSC a standout Corporation in the field: in addition, to having the biggest wharfage, the Corporation provides a conducive, safe and secure environment for doing business, attributes which rank highly in the preference profile of customers.

I hasten to add that you need to establish more modern warehousing policies and practices that would discourage cargo being stored for excessively long periods. This is an inefficient use of your warehousing facility and adds no value to the service you offer. The customers you serve must understand that when you agree to receive their cargo, it must be retrieved before a stipulated period.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a defining moment for Guyana. No, I am not speaking about recent political developments. Rather, I speak of the impending flow of oil and gas and what that means for the Corporation and the economy. As a company, with many years of experience, I expect that your sagacity would cause you to see new business opportunities in this new sector. I encourage you to take advantage of the many business opportunities that this nascent sector promises, so as to ensure that your company remains profitable and competitive, because, as the Minister of Finance, I am aware of the pressure that under-performance of state-owned companies put on the government’s fiscal position.
For many years, we have been made to support a number of state-owned entities, not least of which has been GUYSUCO. That corporation’s rapid decline has impacted many sectors and businesses in the economy, including GNSC, whose wharf, I believe, was used for the domestic transport of sugar. Together with the loss of business in other areas, GNSC’s profit margins have been sharply eroded, resulting in poor financial ratios and rates of return, given the significant assets available and/or employed. Where the Corporation should be declaring dividends to a cash-strapped Government, it is barely keeping its head above water.

The competition is fierce, but this can be met head-on with imagination, innovation and foresight. It would require visionary leadership from the Board of Directors and Management. It would call for a motivated and skilled workforce that is dedicated to making the Corporation number one. I am aware of your Strategic Plan, which highlights Warehouse development, equipment renewal and Wharf Rehabilitation as critical to the success of the Corporation’s 5-year programme. I am sure a lot of thought and brainstorming went into producing it. However, the proof of the pudding is always in the eating – in this case, in the implementation. Lofty plans and ideas mean nothing if their implementation is stymied by one challenge or another; they are met with indifference and reticence; and if they are constructed only to impress.
The Corporation is ideally situated and commands significant assets. But it has no money to implement the game-changing projects that can exploit the known advantages. I urge you to seek out partnerships to overcome this critical deficit. On the Government’s part, we have floated public-private partnerships (P3). We are in active discussions with the European Investment Bank (EIB) on a proposal. I am told that the Corporation has been providing information on its strategy and development plans to EIB for consideration.

Also, we have received an unsolicited proposal from an international firm that specializes in port development, to invest in the GNSC as a P3 venture. The GNSC has been provided with the proposal and it is under consideration. However, given past experience with flawed P3 investments, we have invited the International Finance Corporation, a member of The World Bank Group, to provide professional technical advice and guidance in structuring P3 investments that would be advantageous to our nation, and not be a burden on our taxpayers.
We have also secured technical assistance support from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and The World Bank to developed a P3 Policy Framework that will serve as a guide to the private sector with regards to the methodology and processes to be adopted in our design, development and structuring of P3s. This Policy Framework was submitted to the National Assembly since 2017. So, even with the expected revenues from oil, P3’s will still be of critical importance to financing badly-needed investments in Guyana.

I must also add that, with the production of oil and, to a lesser extent, gas the Government’s plan is to diversify the economy, so as to ensure that we do not become like some oil producing countries, where oil becomes a curse rather than a blessing. Among other things, the diversification and expansion in the economy will result in a higher demand for imported goods and increase the level of exports. These changes will have implications for the services offered by this Corporation. Therefore, the Corporation should continuously update its plans and strategies to ensure that you can adequately respond to the needs of your customers. You should seek to build capacity and acquire new skills, where needed.

Let me say to the Board of Directors and Management that as a public corporation under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance, I look forward to the complete transformation of GNSC, and the completion of all of the elements of your Strategic Plan. This Government is single-minded in its commitment to provide a level playing field and an enabling environment within which businesses can thrive.

I would like to, once again, all those who were involved in making this new and modern warehouse a reality. I hope that this facility will better serve you and your customers.

I thank you.

More images of this event can be accessed via this link.

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27 Nov
By: Tanika Jones 19

Budget 2019 Speech

Introduction

Mr. Speaker, I rise to move the motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for the Financial Year 2019, and in doing so, I wish to indicate that Cabinet has recommended that the National Assembly proceed upon this motion, pursuant to Article 171 Paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct honour to be able to deliver Budget 2019, the fifth and penultimate budget of this Administration’s first term in Government. Today presents us with yet another opportunity to highlight our successes and achievements as a Government – a Government that is dedicated to the overall improvement in the quality of life of our people, as represented by a budget that guarantees equality and inclusivity in resource allocation for all Guyanese. Also, Mr. Speaker, this budget is the third to be presented to this House before the start of the Financial Year. The benefits of these early presentations have been evident in the ability of managers to execute their projects and programmes over the twelve month planning horizon, instead of the truncated year that had become the norm in the not too distant past.

Download The Entire Document Below.

Budget 2019 Speech

 

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19 Oct
By: Tanika Jones 1

Address by Hon. Winston Jordan Minister of Finance at Green Guyana Expo & International Small Business Summit

Green Guyana Expo
& International Small Business Summit

(Theme: Sustainable Economic Growth through Small Business Innovation, Entrepreneurship and transformative Government Policies)

Address by Hon. Winston Jordan Minister of Finance

 

Mr. Chairman
Hon Vice Presidents Ramjattan and Allicock
Other Ministers of the Government and Members of Parliament
Members of the Head Table
Excellencies of the Diplomatic Corp
Representatives of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Boys and Girls:

I am honoured to have been invited to address you at the opening of this inaugural Green Guyana Expo and International Small Business Summit – the first of its kind to be held in Guyana. At the outset, let me congratulate the organisers of this event, especially the indefatigable Eric Philips, who has been relentless in his pursuit to ensure the realization of this event. As he would have indicated, it was in January of this year when he led a three-person team to my office to sell the Green Expo and Summit. I readily came on board – of course, at a cost.

I would also like to extend greetings and a warm welcome to everyone, in particular, our visitors from other climes. Your presence here today is a reflection of your desire to be an active participant in the agenda of this Expo and Summit. I enjoin you to use the opportunity of your presence in Guyana to see some of our sites and to share in the convivial atmosphere for which we are famous. Special recognition goes out, too, the many school children who are in attendance. I want to commend the organisers for inviting them to this Opening Ceremony. Youths are our present and our future. Exposure such as this can only redound to their and our benefit.

Mr. Chairman, this Expo and Summit brings together business experts from Guyana and around the world to educate and inspire local businesses to adopt new strategies and good practices that are necessary to build business resilience and competitiveness. I also expect that this summit will discuss extensively, emerging trends and practices in the green business realm. Let me also state that the convening of this Expo and Summit is another testimony of the Government charting the path to help small businesses to grow and compete successfully.

The theme for this Expo and Summit is “Sustainable Economic Growth through Small Business Innovation, Entrepreneurship and transformative Government Policies”. At this juncture of our development, when Guyana awaits the arrival of first oil, in early 2020, this theme is most apt. This event is being held at a time when the Government is developing, altering and/ or otherwise shifting national policies and investments to reflect a Green Development Agenda. Indeed, since the presentation of our first Budget, in 2015, under the theme, “A Fresh Approach to the Good Life in a Green Economy,” our Government has been pursuing, systematically, a model of development that will be characterized as green, climate-resilient and sustainable. This novel approach will see the use of funds derived from the exploitation of our oil and gas resources to finance the Green Economy. We aim to avoid the pitfalls of many developing countries, including some of our neighbours, who are experiencing serious macroeconomic imbalances and structural disruptions to their economies because of the volatility of oil prices.
In June 2012, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development was convened, and dealt extensively with the benefits of a “Green Economy”. Since then, a number of governments have adopted, as a matter of priority, economic diversification and expansion that is guided by a green agenda. It is believed that this initiative produces more inclusive economic growth and prepares countries to better address external challenges, such as economic volatility and climate change. And so, it is in this context, that the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana remains resolute in the formulation of the Green State Development Strategy, which will guide long-term planning – to position the country to better address challenges such as economic volatility and climate change – and to make the country better aligned with inclusive growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. I am very pleased with the overwhelming response to this activity, and look forward to speedy conclusion of the document and early implementation of the projects and programmes.
This Expo and Summit will, no doubt, create opportunities for networking and facilitate trade. I am acutely aware that once accompanied by the right policies, trade can be a principal driver to the transition to a green economy. As identified in the United Nations Green Economy Guidebook, agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism, manufacturing and renewable energy are six key sectors that stand to benefit substantially from trade opportunities associated with the increase demand for environmentally-friendly goods and services. Guyana is well endowed with all of these resources; together with the right trade and investment policies, the country can reap substantial benefits from increased production and exports. The resulting improvement in the country’s gross domestic product, balance of payments and national income would be most welcomed.
Mr. Chairman, I want to posit that the achievement of green growth is inseparable from developments in the private sector, particularly small and medium enterprises. In my address to the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association’s Annual Dinner and Awards Ceremony, in June last year, I made reference to the need for the private sector to hasten the transition to a Green Economy by introducing fundamental changes to the way they conducted business. His call was made in recognition of the fact that, without a decisive contribution of the business community, the transformation of our economy would be made more difficult.
Let me emphasize, that small and medium scale businesses should not be intimidated by the presence of the large, well-established and recognized firms, which would have already established their environmental footprints. Small and medium scaled businesses have a vital role to play in the transformation process as there is now a growing demand for green products and services. And there is no shortage of ideas and opportunities for start-ups to be successful and sustainable. The key is to first find a green market niche that is consistent with market demand and the Government’s priorities and develop it. Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to introduce to drinking straws made of bamboo, one of the many products, including chairs and beds, of Indonesia with which I became familiar during my recent attendance at the IMF/World Bank annual Meetings, in Bali. Bamboo is very well known in Guyana, as it grows extensively in the wild. Just think of the possibilities of bamboo products replacing, for example, the non-biodegradable plastic straws, chairs and tables. Having banned the use of certain plastic products in 2016, our Government is committed to ban even more by 2020. Small and medium businesses have an opportunity to, in local parlance, “cash in” on the void that will be created.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our Government is cognizant of the growing demand for, and the challenges associated with, financing for small and medium scaled businesses in Guyana. The cost of finance remains high and, in spite of the presence and growing influence of a credit bureau, the preference for collateral at formal financial institutions remains strong and is very often not accessible. High non-performing loans and the need for banking institutions to improve their balance sheets and capital adequacy ratio also contribute to stultification of the growth of small and medium businesses. The Government has been playing its part, investing over $1 billion dollars in grant or near grant funding in programmes such as SLED, LEN, HEYS and the Small Business Fund. We have commissioned a study, supported by the Caribbean Development Bank, to examine the feasibility and the need for the re-establishment of a development banking facility or institution to help these businesses in targeted sectors and activities. The preliminary report of the Consultant undertaking the study has benefitted from multi-stakeholder views, resulting a request to the financing institution for a broadening of the terms of reference. Small and medium businesses will benefit further from measures to be enunciated in the 2019 Budget. As our Government continues to develop the national green finance roadmap, we expect the local financial institutions to adopt a less passive approach to financing these businesses. In this regard, during the recently-held Consultations on the 2019 Budget, I asked the Representatives of the Guyana Bankers’ Association to develop new and innovative products to drive our Green Agenda.
Mr. Chairman, investment in urban and rural infrastructure is necessary to stimulate economic activities and provide easier access to markets by small and medium businesses. While the government will continue to play a key role in the provision of infrastructure, the transformational change will require large-scale private sector involvement. And so, given the restricted fiscal space, on the one hand, and the widening infrastructure deficit, on the other, a Public Private Partnership (P3) Framework has been established as a delivery model to overcome some of the challenges that hinder the execution of development projects in Guyana. The framework prioritizes core projects for collaboration between the Government and the private sector.
Mr. Chairman, to reinforce its commitment to a green trajectory, Guyana has applied and successfully gained membership to the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE). PAGE is an organization that was launched in 2013 to provide assistance to countries in their transition to a green economy and the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The staff at the Ministry of Finance is working collaboratively with PAGE to reframe macroeconomic policies, practices and models that are consistent with the country’s green agenda.
Let me close by, once again, recognizing the diligence, dedication and hard work of the organizers of this event. To all those present, I leave you with this quote from George Bernard Shaw: “The love of economy is the root of all virtue”.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for the courtesy of your attention.

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22 Jun
By: Tanika Jones 0

Senior Economic and Financial Analyst, Dr. Vilas Gobin delivers Presentation at the Budget 2019 Sensitisation and Training Programme 2018, Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Thursday, June 21, 2018

Senior Economic and Financial Analyst, Dr. Vilas Gobin delivered a presentation titled Avoiding Dutch Disease and the Resource Curse at the opening of Budget Sensitisation Sessions hosted by the Ministry of Finance.​

Avoiding Dutch Disease and the Resource Curse
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22 Jun
By: Tanika Jones 0

Address by Hon Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance,at the Opening of Budget 2019 Sensitisation and Training Programme 2018, Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Ministry of Finance today opened its first Budget Sensitisation Sessions for 2019 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre on Thursday, June 21,2018​. The Sessions are  aimed at providing support to Heads of Budget Agencies and their technical teams who hold responsibility for preparation/compilation of Agency Budget submissions.

Heads of Budget Agencies, Permanent Secretaries, Regional Executive Officers, Heads of Subvention Agencies and Constitutional Agencies

Good morning!

I am pleased to be able to join you this morning, at this important event attended by senior officers of the Government sector, who are charged with responsibility for their respective Agency’s budget. The start of the National Budget Cycle is an important milestone in our financial calendar.  Budget 2019 represents the fifth,and penultimate, budget of this Administration’s first term in Office; and the third consecutive year that it will be presented to the National Assembly ahead of the start of the Financial Year. It is, therefore, an opportune time for us to take stock of the results that we have achieved – or not achieved – and to redouble our efforts to deliver goods and services of a sufficient quantity, quality and timeliness. Many of you have been at the helm of your sectors for several years and, therefore, are in a good position to critically and searchingly examine from whence you came, where you are, and where you are going.

As you pause to reflect, let me remind everyone that a national budget is the single most important planning tool in the armoury of the Government. It is a living and dynamic document that gives life to the national and sectoral visions and policies. Most importantly, it is the vehicle through which we implement programmes and achieve national results. When the resource envelope of any national budget is allocated in an environment of stable macroeconomic fundamentals and sound public financial management and, is supported by

  • robust institutional structures,
  • effective management systems,
  • functional monitoring and evaluations systems,
  • and last but most critical- diligent, committed and competent leadership,

then the chances of successful budget implementation are quite high.  However, when any one of, or a combination of, those elements breaks down or goes missing, success becomes evasive, even though expenditure may have occurred.

As Heads of Budget Agencies, you must pay keen attention to ensuring that these elements are all in place in your respective sectors, regions and agencies.

The Government commits to making resources available, subject to the fiscal space, for you to pursue workable solutions. Please bear in mind, that expenditure pressures such as those demanded by, for example, our commitment to improving wages and salaries and national security; bridging the divide between the hinterland and the coastland; and narrowing the infrastructure gap, on the one hand, and revenue pressures to lower taxes and tariffs will continue to impose premiums on planning, programming and pro-active performance.  Since 2015, we have proven that we are up to the task, that we are prepared to implement measures that will benefit a broad cross section of our population. In this regard, we have consistently improved wages and salaries; undertaken sweeping tax reforms to improve tax administration and bring greater equity to the tax system.

We have delivered early National Budgets for 2017 and 2018, to ensure that Heads of Budget Agencies had the entire financial year to implement work programmes – a stark departure from what obtained previously, when budgets were presented as late as end-March and approved in mid-April, thereby implying a 2-month turnaround before the next budget cycle began in early July. Procurement of public goods and services has undergone changes: thresholds have been increased; several training courses in monitoring and evaluation, and  supply procurement have been executed -all with the aim of ensuring an environment that contributes to improved performance in the public service. More recently, we have developed a public-private partnership framework to enable more creative financing approaches, to overcome loss of concessional financing, occasioned by our elevated status of Upper Middle Income Country, as classified by the World Bank.

Spending money is easy. Spending money wisely and prudently to effect results takes skill and effort. It means understanding the problem and finding the solution that gives you the result, then designing a plan and costing it in a way that delivers value for money,then spending the money.Many times, we do the process the other wayaround: we spend money without understanding what is the problem to be addressed. The predictable result is the wastage of public resources that we are entrusted to spend. It is worth the time and effort – please ensure you secure the skills to understand the problems in your sector, devise solutions, plan for and cost the implementation of these solutions.

Additional revenue resources on the not so distant horizon present a wonderful opportunity for Guyana to transition from potential, of which we have so often heard, to prosperity, of which we have so often dreamed. But money alone has never solved a nation’s problems;  in fact, in some countries, it has been the source of bigger problems and conflict. We must remain steadfast in our efforts to strengthen our systems and institutional structures to prevent waste. His Excellency, President David Granger has repeatedly highlighted the need for cost efficiency and results-based performance.Collectively, we are all tasked to deliver on his charge to us.

We are a country that is still far away from where we would like to be. Achieving the Good Life and making quantum leaps in improving human development across socio-economic fronts, will take concerted efforts and resources. Unlike other countries that have squandered their patrimony, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana must be different. We must aim to emerge over the medium term to become a model country that blends the exploitation of petroleum results with the pursuit of a Green state development Strategy. Gains in revenues must be utilised in a targeted and responsible manner to achieve a diversified and resilient economy. Accountability, transparency and good governance must be core principles that drive us to excellence in our work ethic and work output, thus enhancing our capacity to deliver RESULTS, services and works to the people across our ten regions.

The Green State Development Strategy offers a unique opportunity for us to transform our sectors and the country as a whole, along a path of green economy principles.  I hope the budget submissions from your respective sectors will demonstrate green initiatives within the public sector, as well as support engagements with the private sector to boost the realisation of a green Guyana.

Permit me to use an in-house example: increasingly, we have been issuing e-copies of circulars, invitations and notifications from the Ministry of Finance, in our efforts to reduce the use of paper.We have changed our lighting fixtures to LED and, this year,the Ministry of Finance will be sending e-Christmas cards. We urge other agencies to jump on this bandwagon, in the process reducing cost and improving our green efforts, conscious of our environmental footprint. This is a very small, low hanging fruit readily available to be picked. I anticipate that this would be the start of much more that will be done. I would expect, for example,that the Ministry of Business will consider funding start-ups for small businesses to support green initiatives; that our buildings would be incorporating building codes so that support structures that use less energy can be utilised; that we will employ sustainable agro processing practices, and that greater use of management information systems will be made to reduce travel costs and paperwork to name only a few.

With our national development strategy and Local content in focus, we must give effect to Buying Local, wherever possible, to support our agro-producers and local manufacturers. This will contribute to reduced demand for imports, thereby saving foreign currency; improve local value added and growth; and increase national and household incomes and employment.  As I have indicated on several occasions, I am alarmed and get visibly upset when I attend events across our beautiful country and am served imported water, when we have at least half a dozen high quality local producers. Or,when I am served a fruit bowl that includes apples, grapes and imported melons when I would much prefer a juicy Buxton Spice mangoes, a Pomeroon pear, sapodillas, pawpaw, oranges, cashews and watermelons.  In addition, our choices for construction and renovations must seek to use more local woods and manufacturers. These are just a few examples, and I am urging you to incorporate many local content initiatives in your bidding documents.

I trust that the multi stakeholder expert groups that have met to develop the Green State Development Strategy, would have incorporated novel and innovative solutions to the challenges that exist within the various sectors.  The Strategy should provide a menu of solutions that takes account of the peculiarities of our environment.

Far too often, I have found that the budget proposals submitted to the Ministry of Finance lead to more questions than answers. Budget proposals should be solutions to resolving challenges faced in order to achieve results.

Why do we have increasing allocations to the health sector, but continued drug shortages and less hospital inspections than previous years?  Health accounts for 12.5% of the national budget, in 2018. What intervention within the budget proposal will resolve this conundrum of increasing allocations but declining availability?

Why do we have increasing allocations to education but still less than 50 percent of our children as passing Math and English? Education accounts for 17.2% of the national budget in 2018.  What in the budget proposal will resolve this?

Why do we have increasing allocations for maintenance and infrastructure development, yet our Public Sector Infrastructure Programme is filled with requests to rehabilitate existing infrastructure rather than expanding the capital base of the country throughnew infrastructure, where none previously existed? Infrastructure accounts for 13.1% of the national budget in 2018

Are you, as Heads of Budget Agencies, approving performance-based gratuities without measuring performance? Or, worse, are you signing off on poor performance and shying away from your responsibility to take decisions in the best interest of achieving desired results? Are you putting pen to paper when staff do not deliver or simply sitting lamenting in your offices?

You must be able to competently critique systems that are not working or not contributing to delivering the results. And by critique, I mean offer workable solutions.

Are you coming to Budget 2019 hearings to rehash the same problems and hurdles you did for the last several years?Or, are you proposing innovative solutions to drive national development? What is your theory of change for the programmes under your remit?

I hope that these are some of the questions that occupy your minds. I can assure you that they will be asked during your participation at the national budget hearing slated to begin on August 16th.  And the buck, as they, say stops with you. Where there are hurdles, you must innovate and find solutions. Where systems are failing you,must design new, more effective systems. In short, find solutions and deliver results.

The Ministry of Finance and the teams within the Office of the Budget and the Project Cycle Management Division stand ready to assist. We are only an email or whatsapp message away.  These days that is sometimes faster than a phone call.

The sessions for the remainder of today and next Tuesday aim to provide you with the tools you need to finalise your crafting of your budgets for 2019.  Remember, your budget 2019, is being prepared on the cusp of first oil in the first quarter of 2020. The thinking and brainstorming and strategic direction that must go into the preparation must have started before today. And at the end of this 2-day workshop, you should be better able to produce a product that is measurable, quantifiable, and marries problems with solutions. I look forward to you rising to the occasion to resolve the issues facing your sectors and agencies. See the trees, but aim for the forest.

I thank you.

 

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