Even as Guyana rakes in billions of dollars from its oil and gas sector, many citizens are still reeling from high cost of living, says the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Partnership for National Unity + Alliance for Change (APNU+AFC). According to the party’s point man on economics, Elson Low, Guyanese are suffering because of bad governance.
During a press conference hosted by the Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton, the economist spoke of the Misery Index and how an analysis found that “Guyana is in a bad place”. Economists use the Misery Index as a measure of how well citizens are doing economically.
The index, according to Low, soared under the present government. Food inflation is expected to be close to 25% by the end of the year, with employment, especially among youths, over 30%.
“If we were to add the rising poverty rate to the standard Misery Index, then we are faced with a national crisis of misery in Guyana. Poverty is on the increase even though we have increased income from oil. Evidence of misery abounds. People are struggling to put meals on the table, travel to work, and pay rent and bills. Even worse, there is pervasive hopelessness and fatigue among the citizens. There is no belief that tomorrow will be better. There is no expectation that our children would be better off than we are. There is no hope that our oil wealth will make a difference, ” Low lamented.
He added that with Guyana on the brink of yet another “deluge” of oil, with a projected growth rate of over 20% next year, there are still tremendous levels of poverty in communities. The economist said that the government can no longer play “pauper” in the face of such immense wealth. “The PPP continues to try to blame international forces for the cost of living crisis. Inflation is everywhere, to be sure, but few countries have our resources. Money is not the problem. The government’s refusal to respond is the problem.”
He added, “We must not allow the PPP to peddle the fiction that Guyanese cannot realise their aspirations of living a comfortable and decent life. This country earned roughly US$300 million in excess revenue due to the war in Ukraine, which translates to $300,000 GYD per household. And that was merely the unexpected excess!”.