GEORGETOWN, Guyana, April 25, CMC – The Office of Climate Change (OCC) says the proposal by opposition parties to cut budgetary allocations to the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) projects, would damage Guyana’s economy, and negatively impact the country.
Opposition legislators Tuesday warned they were prepared to “stand on common ground” to prevent the passage of the GUY$192.8 billion (One Guyana Dollar =US$0.004 cents) national budget presented to Parliament last month by Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh.
The opposition – A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance for Change (AFC) – control 33 of the 65 seats in the National Assembly and have warned that they would unite against the fiscal package “unless significant changes are implemented in the public interest.
“APNU and AFC have made it clear that the Budget, in its present form, does not meet their demands for changes to stimulate growth, lower the cost-of-living and improve the quality of life for ordinary people,” the APNU statement added.
Parliamentarians have been debating the national budget since April 10 and on Monday, Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, flanked by Singh and other government ministers, noted that the two Opposition parties had circulated separated motions proposing GUY$20 billion (US$99 million)cuts to the Budget estimates of expenditure.
They said that the cuts would affect the Guyana Power and Light (GPL), the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) and the Offices of the President and Prime Minister among others.
OCC said that the proposal by the opposition parties “risks creating a complete reversal of significant gains made in modernising Guyana in preparation for the future” and that the cuts, if implemented, will bring to an end the installation of 11,000 solar home systems in 150 hinterland communities, affecting hinterland children and their families the most and, not the middle classes of Georgetown.
In its statement, the OCC said the cuts would also put a halt of grants and loans to micro and small businesses and vulnerable groups; the removal of support to the Cunha Canal rehabilitation which is critical to address flooding; withdrawal of financial support to the Amerindian Development Fund which
allows Amerindian communities to implement their Community Development Plans and engage in economic activities to diversify their local economies.
“The cancellation of the Cunha Canal project will mean more flooding and more misery from heavy rains long into the future,” the OCC said, adding “this project presents the means and potential to protect property, livelihoods and livestock from the ravages of climate change.
It warned that the cuts could also affect the Amaila Falls project that would adversely affect every single customer of the GPL.
“The cancellation of the Amaila Falls project would condemn future generations to expensive electricity, eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign direct investment into Guyana, and have an impact on the competitiveness of Guyana’s economy far in excess of any temporary savings achieved through these cuts.
“The Opposition therefore, will force Guyana to relinquish its global leadership on climate change, sustainable development and green growth,” the OCC said, noting that “the development of the LCDS came through extensive rounds of multi-stakeholder consultations across the country, and has emerged through international consensus, as a workable model for global adoption and implementation.
“It has been lauded by global leaders, who see Guyana as a source of positive, progressive thinking. The Opposition’s cuts would bring to a halt Guyana’s partnership with the Kingdom of Norway, which is the second largest REDD+ initiative in the world and which would see Guyana benefitting from up to US$250 million over a five- year period as payment for performance based forest climate services.”