The Senior Minister with responsibility for Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh, in the National Assembly – raising the current public debt ceiling, which was modified in the early 1990s. In this regard, the Hon. The Minister proposed raising the domestic debt ceiling from $ 150 billion to $ 500 billion, and increasing the existing external debt ceiling to $ 650 billion. The Minister also noted that this increase will facilitate the regulation of legacy obligations entered into under the previous regime, which have not been properly addressed.
However, this does not mean that the new debt ceilings limit will be increased immediately as this appears to be the view of the former Finance Minister along with other commentators such as GHK Lall and a particular section of the media. The rising debt ceiling is only necessary to allow for higher borrowing – relative to the rate of economic expansion that will occur at least over the next decade.
Following this presentation at the National Assembly, former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, in an invited commentary elsewhere in the media, hurried to punish the Hon. The Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh for the rise in the public debt ceiling. Mr Jordan described in his ramblings the move as a risk-taker and will somehow be burdensome on current and future taxpayers. The former Minister’s statements were not only humorous and idiotic but more worrying – disgusting.
The former Minister said that the Hon. The Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, removes “the proverbial wool over the eyes of the discerning public as the evidence will show that over the past five years the APNU + AFC regime has raised a deficit of $ 92 billion.” He then went on to state that the projected deficit for 2020 under the current regime was projected to be $ 75 billion, before they went to parliament on December 28 last, to draw another $ 17 billion ”. By this comparison, Jordan tried to argue the point that the current Government’s deficit in 2020 alone is equivalent to the accumulated deficit under his tenure in five years. That is, the simple interpretation by a layman reading Jordan’s statement would lead him to believe that in less than a year in office the current Government would have spent the equivalent of all Government spending previously in five years.
This idea, however, is far from the truth and the real evidence will actually prove the inverse of Jordan’s distortions.
That said, let’s understand what $ 92 billion deficit Jordan is referring to and how much money he spent in five years during his time as Finance Minister. The evidence in this regard is shown in the table below from which the data were extracted from the Annual Reports of the Bank of Guyana as well as the Auditor General’s Reports.
The data in the table above showing total Government expenditure for the period 2010 – 2019 revealed that total spending over the period 2015 – 2019 was $ 1.143 trillion, and for the period 2010 – 2014 total Government spending at $ 794 billion. By the time the new Government took office in August 2020, Jordan had managed to raise over $ 1.2 trillion in five years – which is almost double the amount of money spent in the period 2010 – 2014 by Dr. Ashni Singh who was also Finance Minister during that period. It’s funny and sad at the same time – reflecting on the fact that former Minister Jordan and by extension the previous Government – have nothing to show for the more than 1.2 trillion spent – twice the amount of money spent in five years. cycling from this current Government.

To be continued next week …

About the Author: JC. Bhagwandin is a financial analyst, lecturer and business and financial consultant. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent the views of this newspaper and the organizations it represents. For comments, please send to [email protected]

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