1st anniversary in office: Govt has done an excellent job – PSC Chairman

… ICD applauds Govt for caring approach

Sunday marked 100 days in office for the Dr Irfaan Ali-led People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government and according to Private Sector Commission (PSC) Chairman Paul Cheong, the President has done an excellent job leading the nation.

PSC Chairman Paul Cheong

In an invited comment, Cheong told this publication that the President has led from the front in various facets ranging from the economy to how his Administration has handled the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide floods.
“He’s been leading from the front. Both in terms of how he has managed the economy and other sectors. He’s put the country on a good footing. In the flood relief efforts, he’s been fantastic,” Cheong said.

Caring approach
Meanwhile, the International Center for Democracy (ICD) sent out a statement in which it congratulated President Ali’s Government on reaching its one-year anniversary following the struggle for democracy to have every vote counted. The Center went on to give the Government a passing grade, noting that it has paid keen attention to events in Guyana.

President Irfaan Ali

“During the past year the ICD have continued to monitor Guyana’s politics and its development.  We are pleased that the Irfaan Ali Administration has consistently kept their election promises to the people of Guyana.”
“We applaud the Government, not only for their vision, management of the economy and the massive infrastructural works they have embarked on but, also for their caring approach. President Ali has delivered to all Guyanese, irrespective of race, religion, political affiliation and or geopolitical location,” the Center said.
According to the ICD, it will continue in its unwavering support to the people of Guyana, President Ali, and his Cabinet. The Center noted that it remains committed to Guyana’s development and the country’s democratic ideals.
The PPP’s first year in office got off to a feverish start, with a $330 million emergency budget passed within two months in office and a number of projects that had stagnated under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government taking off.
One of the major concerns persons had with the former President David Granger Administration was the increase in the tax burden on the ordinary man. President Ali, in the 2020 Emergency Budget, prepared in a record 29 days, made sure to roll back these measures.
Making good on an issue it campaigned on and criticised the former APNU/AFC Government for, the President Dr Irfaan Ali-led Government rolled back the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) and duties on mining equipment.
VAT was also removed from exports, cell phones, medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and building and construction materials, as well as pesticides and agricultural chemicals. VAT was also removed from the importation of stones as the construction sector sets up for a boom.
One project that the PPP Government jumpstarted was the Diamond-Ogle bypass road. Originally, Guyana had signed a US$50 million loan with the Indian Exim Bank in 2016 for the project. By 2019, that price had shot up to US$175 million and the Exim bank was reluctant to fund it. The PPP Government was able to reconfigure the project back into the US$50 million bracket within the first 100 days.
The contract for the new Demerara River bridge is another project the PPP jumpstarted. After site visits by the President and a team of officials, the Government settled on plans to construct a four-lane, high-span fixed bridge from Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara, to La Grange, West Bank Demerara.
Meanwhile the Eccles to Mandela road project, which has seen six contractors work on completing the important road link under the auspices of the Ministry of Housing and Water, is on course for completion and opening by this year end.
The Government has also gone countrywide with its “Dream Realised” housing initiative – an exercise that has so far distributed thousands of house lots and over 500 land transports. In the Government’s first four months in office, 3500 house lots were distributed, an amount that was half the number of house lots distributed during the former Government’s five years in office. (G3)