Category: Speeches

14 Apr
By: MOF Communications Unit 0

2007 Budget Speech

Introduction:

I.I Madam Speaker, I rise to move the motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for the Financial Year 2007. In so doing, I wish to indicate that in accordance with Article 171, Paragraph 2 of the Constitution, the Cabinet has recommended that the National Assembly proceed upon this motion.

1.2 Madam Speaker, coming as it does at the beginning of a new term of office and, in this case, the fourth consecutive tenn of the PPP/Civic Government since its 1992 assumption of office, this Budget concretises our vision of a modern and equitable society for all Guyanese, as elaborated in a number of documents such as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and individual sector strategy papers. Just recently, His Excellency the President reiterated this vision in his Inaugural Address to this Ninth
Parliament, which address was extensively debated and endorsed in this Honourable House.

1.3 As we have emphasised, our vision is for a better Guyana – a Guyana where our people live in perpetual harmony, enjoying greater cohesion and prosperity; a society in which our quality of life compares favourably with our immediate and distant neighbours; and a society that is recognised for the care and attention it places on children, women, youths, the elderly and the less fortunate. We must, therefore, strive for economic success in order to establish a better society for all. We have to build
safeguards and act to sustain economic growth and stability long into the future, and we must continue to work to find ways of sharing more evenly the benefits of our economic success.

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2007 Budget Speech
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14 Apr
By: MOF Communications Unit 0

1990 Budget Speech

Theme: Laying the Foundation of Growth in the 1990s.

Introduction:

Comrade Speaker, I rise to move the Motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for 1991).

I should like to begin with some general observations of short compass aimed at providing a conspectus of the international environment within which this Budget has been fashioned.

For the developed countries, lower levels of growth in the 1990s than in the previous decade might reasonably be expected. The limited trickle-down of the benefits of the international economic growth is now widely recognised. This is partly attributable to structural changes in the global economy and. in the patterns of consumption and the efficiency of production in the developed countries. Efforts to maintain or restore economic balance in the developed countries of the West, and in particular, the more active use of interest rates and lax fiscal policies, have contributed to the dampening of the demand for traditional products for countries such as ours. The prospects for the Third World growth in the 1990s remain dependent on the outcome of a variety of initiatives.

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1990 Budget Speech
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14 Apr
By: MOF Communications Unit 0

1992 Budget Speech

Theme: Keeping Guyana on the Move Forward.

Introduction:

THE EVOLVING ROLE OF THE ERP IN MOVING THE ECONOMY FORWARD

Comrade Speaker, the theme of this year’s Budget Statement is ‘Keeping Guyana on the Move Forward’. With that objective in mind I rise to move the Motion for the approval of the Estimates of the Public Sector and the Budget for the financial year 1992. I wish to signify that in conformity with Article 171, paragraph 2 of the Constitution that the Cabinet has recommended that the

National Assembly proceed upon this motion. I wish to start by reporting that in this the third year of the decade of Hope the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) has succeeded in initiating the Great Economic Recovery of Guyana.

I wish also to convey a simple message to those pundits and their parties who since 1989 have in tenebrous predictions and prognostications claimed that the ERP would not work. The one who says it cannot be done should never interrupt the one who is doing it”.

The ERP, is a comprehensive matrix of policies and measures designed to restore the economy to a path of sustainable economic growth and a viable balance of payments position over the medium-term, to reintegrate the parallel economy into the official sector, and to normalise relations with external creditors.

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1992 Budget Speech
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14 Apr
By: MOF Communications Unit 0

1989 Budget Speech

Theme: Facing the Challenges of Economic Recovery.

Introduction:

Cde. Speaker, I move the motion for the approval of the Estimates of Expenditure for 1989.

The 1989 programme of the government aims at nothing less than the radical adjustment of Guyana’s economy and the lifting of its productive capacity, 1989 represents the first year of a three-year joint initiative with the international financial community to effect an improvement in our economic performance.

You will no doubt recall Cde. Speaker, that as early as 1985 and more recently in 1987 and 1988 the Government of Guyana, with very little external financial support, and recognising the need for the urgent resuscitation of the economy, embarked upon some extensive economic reforms. The extent of the imbalances faced by the economy however, did not permit the completion of this task within a reasonable period of time without external support. For this reason we moved in 1987 and 1988 to secure international financial support.

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1989 Budget Speech
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03 Feb
By: MOF Communications Unit 4

Opening Address by Hon. Winston Jordan, Minister of Finance on the occasion of Training Course/Capacity Building in Macroeconomic Management for Resource Rich Countries Feb 3-7, 2020

3rd February 2020

Good morning participants, IMF expert trainers and invitees. 

It is certainly a pleasure to finally have the IMF team here this morning to deliver this programme, in country, on Macroeconomic Management for Resource Rich Countries. This was identified as useful, as we approached first oil. Rather than sending 2-3 persons, annually, to attend the course at IMF Headquarters, in Washington, DC, we consider that the impact of having a core 35-40 persons exposed together, at home, would certainly redound to more effective national capacity building and institutional strengthening in strategic technical areas of the Ministry of Finance, Bank of Guyana, and other key sector ministries and stakeholders. 

I hope the collective thinking that is inspired by the content of this course leads, subsequently, to well- researched and thought-out technical advice from those of you here today. Indeed, the content of this programme is intended to elevate the level of thinking, discourse and analysis among the key technical agencies that contribute to compiling key macroeconomic fundamentals in the economy. Today, I am pleased to note that we have expanded our invitation to include the Bank of Guyana, the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, the Department of Energy and Ministries of Natural Resources and Agriculture. These are reflective of agencies that play key roles in designing the programmes and projects that are instrumental to the diversification efforts and institutional strengthening that must be undertaken with haste, to ensure that we are able to mitigate the detrimental impact of Dutch disease and resource curse.

Human capacity building is a critical determinant within the formula for institutional strengthening. Our ability to better conceptualise and analyse the world in which we now find ourselves, and to critically apply that knowledge to advancing informed policy proposals, thereby contributing to the macro economic stability of our country, must become part of our everyday thinking. Without competent and capable human capital, our institutions will fail to deliver as required.

Being able to contribute to development, requires us to design programmes in ways that are not inimical to macroeconomic stability. We must be able to recognize the actions the country needs to adopt, for example, to contain inflation and maintain a stable exchange rate, non-achievement of which can undermine our competitiveness in the non-oil sector. We must be conscious about the impact of the elements that contribute to Dutch disease and resource curse as a nation.

Even as we are undertaking the rebasing of the gross national product (GDP), it is anticipated that improved methodologies would improve our ability to capture growth in the economy.  Additionally, much has been said about the substantial growth spike that we expect from the inclusion of petroleum – those of you who are economists know that a GDP number does not automatically translate to improved livelihood for all our citizens. Indeed, this is why we have long argued for developing countries to have a multi-dimensional measurement of development, given the inadequacies of GDP as an indicator of development and equity.

History is replete with examples which demonstrate how per capita GDP increases do not translate to improved quality of life.  These exemplify the consequences of both institutional weaknesses, weak resource governance structures, and the collective behaviour of the citizenry that, collectively, have worked to exacerbate the resource curse and Dutch disease. We have an opportunity to do better and to distinguish ourselves as a country that can learn from the experiences of others, and exercise greater responsibility to allow both present and future generations to be beneficiaries of good governance. This administration has taken deliberate steps to avoid the presource curse – where several countries have spent funds long before first oil, in anticipation of future revenues. We chose to be prudent in our expenditure management. Further, through the establishment of the Natural Resource Fund, we have established a sound governance structure that will see petroleum revenues being deposited directly into the Fund. We have designed the Fund in a manner that accessing the funds is by way of a withdrawal rule. This rule is based on an analysis of both the oil and non-oil sectors. It will prevent oil price volatility from entering our economy, afford funding for national development priorities, and allow for interest-bearing investments to be made. In this way, the earnings from petroleum will benefit both present and future generations. I am proud to state that the reporting and accountability criteria within the NRF Act meet the well-established Santiago principles for transparency and good governance.

It may seem almost surreal to be a country that is considered resource-rich, especially for those of us who have worked for decades fighting the good fight for additional resources and more concessional resources. But even that definition of being resource-rich needs to be considered thoughtfully. Though we will be accessing petroleum revenues, we will be doing so cognizant of the substantial deficient in human capital resources. The factors of production – land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship – would then see two factors being seriously compromised by such deficiency, unless we manage and invest more strategically in the quality of our education.

We are still many years away from being a carbon neutral world; the demand for fossil fuel is likely to last well into next decade – possibly peaking within this decade. Climate concerns are both global and national priorities. Issues of climate change and global warming are areas we seek to address within our Green State Strategy – Vision 2040.  Being green is about sustainability and improving our ability to take sustainable actions regarding production and consumption as a nation. The window of petroleum revenue generation that is afforded us is finite and comes from the extraction of a finite resource. So, it is incumbent upon us to manage this opportunity well so that, ultimately, the non-oil sectors are strengthened to ensure a resilient and diversified economy during this Decade of Development and in the decades beyond petroleum.

In this room, you represent the generation of future thinkers and leaders in supporting the management of our resource-rich economy, but cognizant of where we are resource-poor. While abundant resources are on the horizon, there are abundant needs to be met in bridging the developmental divide between the hinterland and the coastland; ensuring equal access to quality education in every region, from early childhood to secondary and technical vocational skills; ensuring quality healthcare, even as we confront regional and global emerging health challenges; expanding private sector and domestic production of goods and services; and diversifying exports.

In deploying an arsenal of policies and programmes, to address and mitigate the resource curse and expand the non-petroleum sectors, our Government continues to:

  1. be in active partnership in an Inter-ministerial Working Group with the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association on expanding agro-processing and wood processing sectors. Later this year, we will be focusing on the services sector and tourism product development
  2. prioritise agriculture, since it remains key to ensuring food security and economic diversification across our ten administrative regions 
  3. strengthen our manufacturing and services sectors, so vital for ensuring global competitiveness
  4. leverage our standing forests
  5. design and implement investments in catalytic infrastructure, while ensuring a robust public investment management system
  6. design strategic interventions in education to effect a performance-based approach to ensuring quality and equity
  7. focus on institutional strengthening activities across government 

While the list is by no means exhaustive, in combination with good governance and public financial management, these seven (7) are key to ensuring that we emerge as a buoyant and diversified economy through the leveraging of our resource wealth to address the areas that we are resource poor.  In the end, time will tell our story. Make no mistake that you are key players in that story and I expect this and other training to which you have already been exposed, will serve to make you active shapers of a history of which we can all be collectively proud. The technical quality of your work, your research, your economic modeling, your ability to design systems to support stronger institutions, and your ability to lead effective implementation, must be what drives your work ethic. 

I charge you to learn and participate actively over the next five days.

It is indeed a pleasure to declare this workshop officially open. 

Thank you.

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20 Dec
By: MOF Communications Unit 0

Remarks by the Minister of Finance at sod turning ceremony for the University of Guyana’s Early Childhood Centre of Excellence

Season’s Greetings to you all! This holiday season is indeed a special one, as it marks the end of two decades, since the turn of the 21st century. I’m certain that many of us may be reflecting on how life has changed for us over the past twenty years. If you are a working person, perhaps you are thinking about the ways that your career has progressed through these years. If you are a parent, you must be amazed at how quickly your child has gone from being a small, curious toddler to a young adult during their university studies or work activities. And for all of us Guyanese, we are surely reflecting on the growth and evolution that our country has undergone since the year 2000. We as a nation have seen so much, learned so much, and overcome the various growing pains that come with inevitable change that we too must be in awe of our achievements despite the naysayers. As we approach 2020, let us be proud of how much we have been able to achieve, and at the same time, aspire for greater breakthroughs and milestones in the years to come even as the Coalition Government embarks on its Decade of Development that will seek to transform this nation at all levels.

Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to be here with you today to declare the beginning of a yet another milestone for our nation—the establishment of Guyana’s very first Early Childhood Centre of Excellence!

This Early Childhood Centre of Excellence funded jointly by the Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the Caribbean Development Bank, through Basic Needs Trust Fund Guyana, will stand as a model institution for service delivery and development of early childhood education.

While it is not the first such centre that has been established by the BNTF – 6 centres were established in the 7th and 8th project cycles – this Centre of Excellence which will be established in the 9th cycle will be at the helm; guiding the direction and standards of early childhood education nationwide. A Centre of Excellence is unique in that it not only contains a facility for our children to grow and thrive in a safe environment conducive to learning, but it will also function as a research facility, where early childhood education scholars can come together to conduct studies and further develop good practices. It will serve as a hub and resource centre for other early childhood education practitioners to gain knowledge and advice from experts in the field.

Once established, this Centre will become a flagship laboratory school under the University of West Indies Open Campus (UWI OC) Early Childhood Centres of Excellence Company, as formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding between UWI and the University of Guyana. The Company, also known as BLOOM, has established Centres of Excellence in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. These laboratory preschools employ holistic education methods while creating a nurturing and engaging atmosphere for the students enrolled there. With University of Guyana’s Centre now joining these prestigious ranks, Guyana will also be able to build upon its cultural power and realm of influence throughout the Caribbean.

According to the World Bank, far too few children worldwide, especially those from the poorest families, have the option to enroll in high quality early childhood programmes. And many experts have emphasised that investing in children’s development during the first eight years of their life is critical for their school, life success and productivity. Until the establishment of the Early Childhood Development Centres under BNTF, there was only one state-owned day care centre, and, apart from the services offered by the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown, services for infants up to the age of three remained largely in the private sector and in the hands of untrained individuals. It is critically important then, that we, as a nation, invest more in early childhood education, to ensure that all children of a certain age have access to these crucial services.

The Centre of Excellence will therefore prove a truly worthwhile investment, with 120 million dollars allocated for the construction of the centre. The building will span 7,624 square feet and contain enough classrooms to accommodate 120 infants and toddlers, along with an observation room, conference room, and research spaces. At least 20 adults will gain employment there and learn to become better early childhood practitioners themselves. Professional development opportunities abound in such a space, with the Centre producing capable individuals to contribute to Guyana’s skilled labour force.

As 2020 swiftly approaches, let one of our goals be to build an “Education Nation,” a country that emphasizes quality at each stage of the education process, from the services catering to the youngest of our population, all the way up to continuing education for adults. Learning should be an unceasing process throughout our lives, but how it starts in the early years of a child’s development is particularly crucial: it will dictate the kind of adults they become, and, in turn, determine the future of our great nation.

With that, I would like to once again commend this wonderful initiative and wish you all a joyful holiday season! Thank you.

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