As the nation awaits today’s unveiling of budget 2023 by Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh, Chartered Accountant, Anand Goolsarran urges that it be followed by a critical assessment of growth rates and projections. Equally important, he posited, is an examination of the types of measures that will be implemented to tackle the high cost of living.
Goolsarran, in his latest commentary in the Stabroek News, said stakeholders have been taking much pride in speaking about the country’s unprecedented growth.
While this may be true, Goolsarran said emphasis on total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures without a thorough assessment of non-oil growth, would present a distorted view of the nation’s performance.
The Chartered Accountant said it is the performance of the non-oil economy that makes the real difference in the lives of the vast majority of the citizens. He said this is where attention and prudent questioning must be had.
Additionally, Goolsarran said citizens must ask themselves what efforts are being made via budget 2023 to avoid the Dutch disease and the resource curse. He explained that the Dutch disease is about the overdependence of one sector of the economy, resulting in a decline in the other sectors.
On the other hand, the resource curse (also known as the paradox of the plenty) is a phenomenon whereby oil-rich countries do not benefit from the natural resource wealth as they ought to, while combined with a lack of effective response to public welfare needs.
While the authorities have been providing one-off cash grants to various groups, Goolsarran said it is a stop-gap and arbitrary approach that cannot be regarded as sustainable, unless carefully crafted policies are adopted after the widest consultations with key stakeholders, with the support of the Legislature.
He alluded that citizens must be wary of their critical eyes and ears being dulled by one-off payments and seek to understand what measures in budget 2023 will transform their lives.