Budget 2022 remains a people’s budget – President Ali

…says lays groundwork for country’s transformation

Describing it as people-centred, President Dr Irfaan Ali on Saturday highlighted the many provisions contained in his Administration’s $552.9 billion Budget 2022 that will lay the foundation for the massive transformation of Guyana and enhance the lives of citizens.

President Dr Irfaan Ali

In a virtual briefing, the President spoke of the merits of the budget presented on Wednesday and how its policies are interconnected to improve the lives of Guyanese. The budget makes provision for increases in old age pension, public assistance, cash grants for school children and increasing the tax threshold to $75,000.
According to the President, Budget 2022 lays the groundwork for further development. He encouraged all to look at the budget in a holistic manner. President Ali spoke of how his Government’s fiscal plan for this year comprehensively addresses the day-to-day lives of Guyanese while also simultaneously detailing plans for national prosperity, job creation, expanding the economy and enhancing productive capacity.
“Budget 2022 is not only people-centred but it is geared at addressing our productive capacity of our country and every single sector… investment in the human resources that would give us the capability and the potential to develop these sectors.”
“Unless we enhance our productive sector and productive capacity, we cannot build a strong economy. We cannot talk about local content, we cannot talk about the economy, we cannot talk about making sectors more competitive if we do not enhance the productive capacity,” the President said.
Zeroing in on the agriculture sector, the Head of State explained that his Government’s investments are aimed at moving traditional food production and agriculture towards agri-business development and more diversified production. This includes building infrastructure to make agriculture more resilient to shocks of climate change as well as attracting more young people into the sector.
President Ali also spoke about the specific interventions to support traditional agriculture industries such as sugar, rice and fishery which he said will support farmers and bring more disposable income to households.
Turning his attention to energy, the President posited that this sector will allow for a diversified economy, job creating and enhanced living for citizens. The Head of State also spoke of ICT development in the country, particularly in hinterland communities so that they can be up to speed with the rest of the country.
When it comes to tourism, the Head of State pointed out that the continued growth that is being seen is an offshoot from the oil and gas sector. In light of this, President Ali explained the need to capitalise on building a sustainable tourism product.
He noted that investments, particularly in the training of workers for the hospitality sector, are critical in order to make the sector competitive. As such, he said allocations made to enhance and promote “Brand Guyana” are aimed at bringing more traffic here thus resulting in foreign spending in the country that will see many small businesses benefiting.
“Imagine what a reduction of 50 per cent in our energy cost will do for you. Imagine how it will enhance your life, more disposable income. Imagine how many jobs will be created during and after construction of our hydro and natural gas energy facilities. Imagine what our new shorelines will look like… Budget 2022 brings that imagination to life as the seeds are now [being] planted to realise all of this,” he stated.
President Ali further outlined the impact other significant investments such as improving infrastructure across the country and reducing traffic congesting will have on businesses and families.
“This is how the budget impacts ordinary people, not by false pens inking negative propaganda to achieve self-serving goals. But by hardcore, structural, targeted policies and programmes that enhance the lives of Guyanese.”
“The hundreds of thousands of persons who will benefit from new highway roads and bridges that will reduce travel time, and wear and tear of vehicles are the ones who will understand how this budget touches their lives, and they are the ones Budget 2022 is designed to help,” the President further explained.
Budget 2022 was presented on Wednesday and makes provisions for, among other things, reduction of fuel prices, support for dialysis patients, the bulk allocation for specific cost of living initiatives such as increases in old age pension, public assistance, cash grants for school children, incentivising savings in the banking sector, reducing the cost of medical and life insurance, increasing the mortgage loan ceilings, raising the income tax threshold to $75,000 and freight cost adjustments that negates the passing on of over $6 billion to consumers. (G3)