Govt not serious about public/private partnerships – Jagdeo
…as Gaskin admits absence of investment projects
If the Government were serious about developing the economy, it could have already entered into approximately 50 public/private partnerships as it inches closer to its third year in office. This is according to Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who observed that the administration has finally admitted that it has no current investment plan or project for the country.
Business Minister Dominic Gaskin has admitted that Government has no investment projects to offer to anyone who has the least bit of interest in investing in Guyana. “Investors generally want to know what specific projects we have for them to invest in, and we have none; and therefore we tend to lose the interest of the investor, because there are other countries competing for those limited
investment funds that have tangible investment projects to offer,” he disclosed recently at the Heads of Missions Conference held at the Pegasus Hotel.
The minister also admitted that Government is only now looking to develop a portfolio of investment projects. This as the Administration approaches its third year in office.
The Opposition Leader was shocked to learn that, after so many months in office, Government has not yet developed a proper plan to generate investments in the local economy. “Gaskin is absolutely right, and I thank him for being honest. They have no investment projects to offer to anyone. So it’s not the illegal economy of the past and drug monies of the past….,” Jagdeo noted.
Jagdeo reiterated that the economy is sluggish, and he said it is not because of the absence of drug money, as some may claim, but as per Government’s own admission, the lack of investors in the country. “People are being laid off because sales have collapsed, and that is because Government is reducing aggregate demand by reducing disposal income from people,” he contended.
Jagdeo also highlighted that there is a huge demand for public/private partnerships (PPPs) as he chided Government’s slothfulness in capitalising on this opportunity. Gaskin recently said Government has not entered any PPP because there is no framework in place to ensure value for money and that any form of abuse is prevented. The former President is contending that there is no need for a fixed framework. “If the minister is serious, he’d look at an investment opportunity where they need a PPP. They would develop a prospectus, the prospectus would estimate the cost of the project,” he said. According to Jagdeo, the prospectus would also state conditions under which each side would participate, and the benefits to private sectors involved, whether it is guaranteed rate of return or special tax breaks; and then those conditions would be advertised.
“They could have done 50 of those by now if they are seriously involved in PPP. It’s a simple thing to be done. It’s just ordinary work to pursue PPP,” he stated.