While most may be quick to criticize just how much the government has been able to achieve within its first 100 days of being in office, Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo was keen to note that one must consider in such an assessment, the fact that the new administration faced significant challenges. Two of these he pointed to was the absence of a budget which it put together in a record time of 21 days and heightening national response, preparedness as well as rapid testing for COVID-19.
Expounding further, the Vice President noted that the government had found itself in an unusual position where there was not only the absence of an approved budget but there was expenditure by the former regime in excess of $130M from the Treasury this year while noting that it had racked up $20B in liabilities. “So this spending needed to be cleared and we had to put money in place to really run the government. So at the end of that, we basically had 40 days in which we were able to fully function as a government,” the Vice President said.
He added, “Also we took over in the middle of a pandemic and that was devastating because like other countries, we were caught unprepared. There was also little testing and as such, we didn’t know the true rate of infection so we had to quickly address that. I hope all of these factors are looked at when you assess the performance of the government in its first 100 days in office.”
But those challenges aside, Jagdeo said he is proud of the fact that the government was still able to improve the efficiency of the state machinery so that routine functions are being done at a much higher level. The official was also pleased with the fact that the overall approach of the government has been more people-oriented.