By: Sase Singh; MSc – Finance, ACCA
When politicians and bureaucrats fail to deliver what they had promised, the lamest and easiest of their excuses is that the old administration is blocking progress from the new administration. It is no different in Guyana.
Such an excuse might be reasonable maybe for the first 6 months, but, as in the case of Team Granger, it is grossly disrespectful of them that, after 48 months, they are still using this stale line. They really think they can play with the intelligence of the Guyanese people, because they think the people cannot see their incompetence from a mile away.
The Granger people tell us that his government cannot get enough of the right people to run the Government. Again, more political bunkum, because when we cross-reference this statement with reality, we find that the doors to the jobs and access to the corridors of power are shut tight against the youths with talent. Instead, we see a revolving door of washed out “has-beens”, “dead weights”, recycled party apparatchiks from the 1980s, institutionalised in the Government and offering very little return for the investment the State has made in them.
We can start with Mr. David Arthur Granger himself. If you ask the simple question: WHAT HAS HE DONE FOR THE GUYANESE PEOPLE LATELY? The answer weighs heavily towards, “VERY LITTLE”.
We’re told that the old corps of Government officers are loyal to the previous Government, are not trying hard enough, and do not have the right intentions. However, one has only to evaluate each and every Ministry, and the conclusion arrived at again and again remains that Team Granger is failing, and will continue to fail because it does not understand how to succeed. The very nature of this Granger Team is weighted against its success.
I want to share ten (10) reasons why I made this statement:
There is rampant policy paralysis across Team Granger, from top to the bottom. Let us reflect on a guaranteed source of economic expansion – exports. In order to implement a successful export expansion strategy, the politicians in the Cabinet need to know more than they are expected to on the pertinent issues. Thus they must be expertly advised at all times.
But think of Mr. Noel Holder and his contribution to the expansion of agricultural exports. Can he lead the nation at understanding the issues around why Guyana is not more competently penetrating the CARICOM market on agricultural exports, although Guyana has the largest arable land space in the CARICOM family? Does he know the specifics? And if he does, what has he done about them? You either know how to export or you don’t. You either know how to comply with the phyto-sanitary requirements of a foreign market or you do not. You either know how to break down the barriers into these markets or you don’t?
When you reflect on the public actions of Mr. Holder, he comes across as too generalised, as if he is guessing how to do his job most of the time.
2: Information Asymmetries
While there is irregularity of information in the economy, when one compares the operation of the public sector with that of the private sector, the dsyfunctionality of the decision-making process in the public sector remains profound. What is even more frightening is that, after four years in office, Mr. Granger’s promise to boost the education system to help on this front has not delivered the intended outcome, earning him an “F” grade.
3: Crowding out of the private sector
Government’s intervention by taxing and spending is not helping to expand the economy. Rather, this practice is crowding out the private sector. Governments do not create new wealth; they just move cash around from one hand to the other. Crowding out the private sector is contributing to the deterioration of the incentive mechanism to drive more people to properly unleash their potential.
4: Time lags
Government policies suffer from extended lags between diagnoses and effects. The governmental processes are concerned with holding on to power, and Team Granger’s antenna captures only those signals that are relevant to the power game. But ask them about the new jobs, the new industries, the new wealth centres and they are lost. As the current situation has revealed, all that has happened since December 21, 2018, when Mr. Charrandas Persaud voted, is the politicisation of every single decision, while too many fundamental issues continue to go unattended. Meanwhile, if one looks at the crime and social destruction in Guyana, it has gotten so much worse in the last 6 months, with minimal policy reaction from the Ministry of Public Security. You would have thought that, by now, Mr. Granger would have declared war on crime.
I shall complete this conversation next week. Please share your feedback at [email protected]