Budget 2023 will contain major shift to community development – VP

…says policy document will be consistent with PPP/C promises

With budget 2023 on the horizon, the Government has signalled that this year would see, among other things, a major shift to community building and improving infrastructure, which will include massive spending on community roads and drainage systems.
This was explained by Vice President (VP) Bharrat Jagdeo, during a recent pre-budget interview in which he was asked what persons can expect from this year’s budget. The last budget was $552.9 billion. According to Jagdeo, this new budget will capitalise on the framework built by previous budgets and bring increased development into communities.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo and Finance Minister Ashni Singh at a recent engagement

“The first two years, we had to focus on the immediate issues, which were reversal of taxes, etc, to get things going. And the big projects. They’re many, I wouldn’t list all… the highways, power plants, new hospitals. Towards the middle of last year, we started going out and shifting our focus to community infrastructure. Because that has been neglected for a long time.”
“And this year, you’re going to see a massive focus on community infrastructure. Roads in communities. That’s the biggest concern of people. Roads and drainage. And there’ll be thousands of new roads done in communities this year,” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo also reminded that the Government has been saying since last year that all roads providing access to public buildings such as schools and health clinics, would be top priority in 2023. As such, the VP noted that budget 2023 will demonstrate this.
Other areas highlighted by Jagdeo in which the Government would provide support, include the agriculture sector, where they will endeavour to get more young people involved. But he urged persons to keep in mind that the budget is meant to be consistent with all the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) outlined in their manifesto and their development strategy.
“There [will be] lots of support in the budget for agriculture, because we take this seriously. And in the involvement of young people in agriculture and the technology… we’re not looking for newness. We’re looking for consistency in what we’ve said. The budget is not a PR document,” Jagdeo said.
“It is a policy document with resources to support the goals outlined either through our National Development Strategy or our manifesto. Some people look for newness all the time, but it’s more a solid, sturdy foundation type budget that moves us forward, that pays particular attention to our oil resources and how we utilise them.”

Budget Day
It was announced last week that budget day would be Monday, January 16, 2023. Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh has over the last several months been meeting and consulting with various stakeholders including the private sector, Government Ministries, other agencies, and civil society.
Recently, President Irfaan Ali hosted the latest consultative meeting at State House with representatives from several private sector and other agencies to listen to their concerns and receive suggestions for Budget 2023. These all formed part of possible inclusions as the Budget 2023 planning process continues.
As with Budget 2022, this year’s budget is expected to see critical development programmes for Government being fast-tracked and many more expanded to reflect Government’s continued transformational agenda for the country, which has been taking it forward at a rapid pace over the last two years and five months since the PPP/C’s return to office in August 2020.
It will be the fourth Budget presented by the current Administration and the third by Dr Singh, who commenced his current tenure as Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance in November 2020.
Prior to this, Government’s first budget for its current term was presented in August 2020. In that first budget, Government reversed a large number of harsh taxes instituted on citizens by the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
The second budget in 2021 was presented under the theme “A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism, and Resilience” while the third was unveiled under the theme “Steadfast Against All Challenges, Resolute in Building Our One Guyana”. Budget 2021 comprised a number of developmental measures and also included funding for the construction of a number of housing schemes and expansion of existing ones along with investment in the revitalisation of the country’s sugar industry.
There were also programmes that the Government implemented in partnership with private sector bodies and other stakeholders, especially with regard to the tourism, hospitality, and agriculture sectors. Several relief cash grant measures were also implemented and saw thousands of citizens across the country benefitting from the relief.
A number of areas had been devastated by flooding and Government also provided relief for affected persons, especially those who had suffered the loss of crops and livestock. The health, infrastructure, and education sectors also saw major injections in Budget 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic was ongoing.
Budget 2022 also saw major injections in a number of sectors, including the expansion of the Government’s housing drive, the infrastructure sector catapulted with an increased number of roads and bridges constructed, energy expansion and diversification, provisions for persons with disabilities, several injections toward Amerindian and hinterland development as Government proved its commitment to bettering the lives of Indigenous people. It also saw large injections in the health, education and security sectors. (G3)