‘What kind of Maths is that?’

-Jor­dan ac­cuses PPP/C of fal­si­fy­ing stats to con­fuse on bud­get

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Minister of Fi­nance Win­ston Jor­dan yesterday ac­cused the op­po­si­tion PPP/C of fal­si­fy­ing statis­tics to cre­ate con­fu­sion about the pro­posed 2019 na­tional bud­get.

As he closed the five-day de­bate on the pro­posed na­tional bud­get for 2019, Jor­dan im­plored the House to be care­ful with what is recorded in the Hansard as he charged that sin­is­ter moves are afoot.

Jor­dan dou­bled down on his pre­vi­ous as­ser­tion that the pre-2015 econ­omy was fi­nanced by crim­i­nal­ity and he de­clared that Guyana’s econ­omy has been go­ing through some grow­ing pains as it ad­justs to de­pend­ing only on le­gal sec­tors.

The minister also stressed that he would not be re­spond­ing to re­quests that he prove his claims about an il­le­gal econ­omy, while say­ing, “You don’t prove facts. A fact is a fact.”

“Where drugs wasn’t in­volved, whole­sale give­away of our pat­ri­mony was in­volved,” he said, be­fore ex­plain­ing that in 2014 more than $92 bil­lion in tax re­mis­sions were paid com­pared to $64.3 bil­lion in 2017 and $85 bil­lion in 2018 be­cause of com­pa­nies such as ExxonMo­bil.

“You didn’t have Exxon and these com­pa­nies then, so who got $92.4 bil­lion?” he asked

Jor­dan, who was the last speaker, specif­i­cally tar­geted a claim made by PPP/C par­lia­men­tar­ian Ir­faan Ali that the cost of sim­ple items has in­creased by 6% over the last year.

“What kind of Maths is that? Where you adding per­cent­ages rather than real value?” he asked the House be­fore ex­plain­ing that the con­sumer in­dex shows that prices of these items have ac­tu­ally in­creased by 2%.

For­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral Anil Nand­lall was also taken to task for declar­ing in the House that pub­lic debt has in­crease by 100% when ac­tual num­bers show that the $355.8 bil­lion in debt as of 2013 had been re­duced to $345 bil­lion at the end of 2017.

“It seems that no mat­ter how many pub­lic doc­u­ments you bring to the House, the west­ern side will cre­ate their own statis­tics,” he said, be­fore adding that the House should call on the op­po­si­tion to pro­vide proof of the 200 new taxes it claims the APNU+AFC ad­min­is­tra­tion has im­ple­mented.

“There have been no new taxes un­der this ad­min­is­tra­tion. We have not in­creased a sin­gle tax. In fact, we have de­creased the cor­po­rate tax rate to 25% and the in­come tax. We have de­crease the rate from 30% to 28% and in­creased the thresh­old. We have re­moved the in­come tax from NIS con­tri­bu­tions,” he re­minded, while stress­ing that the in­crease in tax revenue is a re­sult of an ex­pan­sion in the tax base.

“As the base widens, we will get more revenue. If ev­ery­one pays their fair share, we com­mit that we will con­tinue to re­duce taxes and in­crease the thresh­old,” Jor­dan said, be­fore ad­vis­ing the House to pre­pare for the pro­pa­ganda to thicken and ex­pand as gov­ern­ment fo­cuses its at­ten­tion on so­cial ser­vices and in­fra­struc­ture.

“Hav­ing now got GuySuCo off our backs fig­u­ra­tively, we are now turn­ing at­ten­tion to the ar­eas we should have given at­ten­tion in the first place,” he said, while not­ing that gov­ern­ment spent $38.5 bil­lion on the su­gar in­dus­try up to the end of 2018 and then had to find $5 bil­lion plus in­ter­est for sev­er­ance pay­ments to laid off work­ers.

Ad­di­tion­ally, Jor­dan noted that $6 bil­lion has been al­lo­cated for fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies so that a “pro­ject bank” can be cre­ated.

“A num­ber of projects were done with­out fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies and now we have to pay for projects which were to ben­e­fit us. We have to stop the idea of turn­ing up with pro­ject ideas and ac­cept­ing any money of­fered for the idea. Yes, fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies are a fact of life and they will be a fea­ture of this ad­min­is­tra­tion,” he ex­plained.

Next week, the Na­tional Assem­bly will re­solve it­self into the Com­mit­tee of Sup­ply and con­sider the pro­posed es­ti­mated spend­ing for 2019.

Win­ston Jor­dan

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