(iNews photo probably)
What’s that sucking sound? No it’s not the Private Sector Commission meeting with the government. Those days are over. It’s the $60B that the previous administration had lying about in commercial bank accounts being drawn back into the public system and the Consolidated Fund. And if not exaggerated it is not chump change. Close to a third of the national budget ($220B) or 150% of the total central government employment costs for 2014 ($42B).
The PSC says the banks are “extremely concerned about the intended removal” of these taxpayer funds parked in their vaults earning near zero interest and giving them the base from which to record bumper profits every year. They’re concerned because the current economic slowdown – brought on by the same reckless government they cheered for – could “lead to a high level of non-performing loans” and they would need those government funds to guard against any losses. Perhaps they should have been more prudent lending to the rice and mining sectors, or to real estate developers and their now empty buildings. As it is Guyana’s banks are incredibly conservative when it comes to loan-to-deposit ratios so there’s plenty of dosh to set aside. $247B to be precise. They are crying wolf.
And as Clinton Urling (perhaps coming to his senses) points out on FB: “I would suspect the government would use those funds to stimulate public investment and consumption and increase public demand…the more that money is out there, it means the private sector would have increased opportunities to access more available cash in the economy, thus improving their bottom-line…if the 60 billion stays dormant in commercial banks, I don’t see how that helps anyone but the rich banks…” Spoken like a true Keynesian.
Meanwhile when we hear about rumoured increases for ministers etc we don’t fuss because even though they don’t deserve an increase, it’s a drop in the ocean. So while the people must know exactly who is being paid what, it’s just one of those hot button issues people like to freak out about. Even if you take the Times’ bullshit numbers the total annual payroll for the Cabinet would only be $690M. That’s like one payment to New GPC. The Marriott cost $58B and must be losing the equivalent of the Cabinet’s monthly payroll. What incredible figure did we hear for their GPL bill?
And since when was the Times so concerned about public servant wage increases? Here’s what they thought about that issue back in 2012: “Salaries, for instance, have risen considerably in the last two decades without a commensurate improvement in performances. In our considered judgement, we could give higher salaries if the public sector employment is lowered by obtaining greater efficiencies through a combination of more qualified workers and greater use of communications and computer technologies. But corruption will only drop when even these workers regain the spirit of true “public service”. Where is the old spirit of nationalism?”