An assessment of the government’s performance within the first 100 days in office
Today’s theme is an important topical discussion in the public’s interest to ascertain the Government of the day commitment and seriousness in developing the country and serving its people, as well as the technical soundness of the Government itself to achieve these targets.
The Government’s first 100 days in office is fast approaching and its performance so far is nothing short of commendable amid the unprecedented and unforeseen challenges prior to contesting the national elections. In order to assess the Government’s first 100 days achievement, one has to first assess this from the perspective of the government’s manifesto for the next five years. In so doing, in reviewing the manifesto there are seven major areas of focus which captures the government’s five years development plan for Guyana including other areas of improved governance and the delivery of public services as follows:
- Rescuing the productive sectors
- Securing the benefits of oil and gas for all Guyanese
- Infrastructure Boom: Building for the Future
- Cheaper and more reliable electricity
- ICT: connecting every Guyanese to the future
- Utilizing resources in sustainable manner to create jobs and income for all
- Better quality of life for all (this includes improved public goods and services, public security, health and Governance).
Under the first thematic area above (rescuing the productive sectors), a menu of measures was included in the manifesto which include the removal of VAT and other regressive taxes on key productive capital items and the reduction of fees – all of which were implemented in the government’s first “emergency” budget. We can safely say, therefore, that almost 100% of these measures were already implemented in the first 100 days through the budget. Most notably, the Government is moving aggressively to reopen the sugar estates which is also a commendable achievement in the first 100 days.
With respect to the second thematic area, “securing the benefits of oil and gas for all Guyanese”, a number of actions were taken immediately within the first 100 days to achieve this goal. This includes the formulation of a local content panel, which includes and is led by private sector leaders. That panel has conducted a series of consultations including the private sector of recent. The Government has also negotiated for better terms, as promised, in Exxon’s application for another license for the Payara development. This is also commendable, the details of which was immediately released to the public upon its approval. We can safely say 50% of work to realize this goal has commenced.
To achieve cheaper and more reliable electricity, the actual fruition of this goal will be achieved in the long term. Notwithstanding, the government, within the first 100 days is moving aggressively to work with Exxon on the gas to shore project. In fact, they have recently appointed Mr. Winston Brassington, to Head this project. Allowing private sector players to sell power to the national grid is another achievement in this regard.
On the Information Communications Technology (ICT) front, within a matter of weeks the government was able to fully implement the liberalization of the sector which resulted in almost immediate reduction of rates by telecommunication companies. Though the more profound benefits for consumer will take some time to be realized, this is a good achievement as the first step in the right direction to facilitate this.
Under the seventh thematic area, tremendous work has commenced in this regard within the first 100 days, this includes the immediate distribution of land titles for persons to have access to building their own homes. The work being done by the Ministry of Housing and Water is commendable within the first 100 days.
From assessing the Board appointments on the various State Boards as well, which includes private sector representatives, civil society and opposition political parties, the PSC is pleased to see the Government has fulfilled its promise on inclusive governance. We therefore expect to see more of this in the short to medium and long-term.
If one were to score the government’s achievement, based on what has been done in the above thematic area, the score in percentage form will look like the following:
Rescuing the productive sectors (fully implemented in emergency budget)
Securing the benefits of oil and gas for all Guyanese (the new provisions mandated in the Payara license, move on local content to be legislated etc.)
Infrastructure Boom: Building for the Future
Cheaper and more reliable electricity
ICT: connecting every Guyanese to the future
Utilizing resources in sustainable manner to create jobs and income for all
Better quality of life for all (this includes improved public goods and services, public security, health and Governance).
Total out of 700 = 100% the full manifesto
205/700 or 30% overall
Overall, it is safe to score the achievements so far out of a total of 700 for each area above combined, the Government has achieved 205 which is equivalent to 30% of the promises outlined in its five years manifesto. This level of achievement should not be taken for granted, and at the same time, the Government is urged to maintain this level of consistency as it seeks to continue enhancing the level of performance. To achieve the goals outlined in the manifesto will require the continued cooperation and support of all stakeholders and all Guyanese.
About the Author:
- Bhagwandin is an economic and financial analyst, lecturer and business & financial consultant. The views expressed are exclusively his own and do not necessarily represent those of this newspaper and the institutions he represents. For comments, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.