Moving on up…

…to upper middle class?
The announcement by the World Bank that Guyana has moved on out of being a “middle income economy, to an “UPPER middle income economy” brings to mind the old saw about “lies, damned lies and statistics”. All your clean-mouthed Eyewitness could exclaim when he read the blurb was, “What the freak??!!”
The claim is made because the World Bank announced our gross national income (GNI) per capita is now between US36 and ,475. And this is where the ridiculous statistics come in that make it even worse than “damned lies”. The GNI is calculated by dividing the Gross National Product – the value of all the goods and services Guyana produces – by the population. We’re dealing with “averages” here.
Now the year before – taken from the 2014 figures but dubbed “2015” because of when it is released – our GNI was supposed to be US63. Using a round GY0 for US, this means each man, woman and child in Guyana were raking in GY2,600 annually. Or a typical family of four made GY,930,400!!! Typical!! Can you believe this?
But this is what statistics does. It doesn’t matter that 10 per cent of the populace could be raking in 50 per cent of the income…it’s assumed the income is shared equally! But even though we know this is pure, undiluted bunkum, we now hear we are pulling in even larger incomes! Even assuming the new statistics barely put us into the new bracket – say another US0 (GY,000) annually giving us a GNI of US63 – does this sound reasonable?
Where the heck is this additional income coming from when RICE, sugar, timber, bauxite and retail sales are down? Well…the Finance Minister did give us a clue last week when he said gold production was up. The problem is – how much of this money from gold gets into the pockets of the AVERAGE Guyanese. Right off the top, the two largest gold mining companies are FOREIGN and all GOVERNMENT of Guyana gets if 5- per cent.
The rest goes abroad.
But the irony isn’t just that the Government will now boast we’re in an Upper Middle Income bracket – hinting, wink! Wink!— we’re at the upper end of the scale of US,000 per annum: better than Malaya!! No that’s expected.
The irony is we now won’t qualify for a host of concessionary financing from institutions like the same World Bank that issued the new classification to begin with. This Government will never have the guts of Singapore that disputed their new classification when it was first awarded.
There’s no Lee Kwan Yu in sight here!!

…international procurement
Word is the Government’s contemplating opening up Government procurement – which totals a whopping 27 per cent of our national spending – to international competition. It might’ve done better by first contemplating its collective navel. Which developing country opens up Government spending to international firms? Why would it do this?
Governments spend from taxes it collects from citizens – even the loans have to be repaid from the latter. And it will now use this to pay foreigners rather than locals? Jeez!! The reason Minister Sharma gave was “more efficient spending”. So this is the alpha and omega of Government spending? What about getting money to locals – without having to resorption to handouts?
Another reason proffered was to stop corruption?!Really??!! Surendra? Fedders Lloyd? Bai Shan Lin? Wal-Mart? 427 top companies from the OECD? When will we stop believing in the superiority of the “foreign”?
And allowing the region’s to monitor larger contracts will lower corruption? There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
We can’t delay the Public Procurement Commission any longer.

…on City high handedness
Your Eyewitness wants to emphasise he has no problems with a surcharge on containers – parked or moving – on city streets per se. But he objects to the authoritarian lack of consultations in imposing the levy.
Bullyism it is!