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Post Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:30 pm

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Former President Bharrat Jagdeo will control the bulk of the country’s economy once the recently announced National Economic Council (NEC) comes on stream. The former head of state was appointed chairman of the body by incumbent President Donald Ramotar several weeks ago.Former President and NEC Chairman, Bharrat JagdeoRamotar handpicked the former state head saying that with his vast experience in economics, both domestic and foreign, he would be ideal to help catapult the country’s economic aspirations to greater heights.However, the government is still to state specifics about the “pro-bono” services that Jagdeo would be rendering the state. Some commentators believe that his role in this body would have a much greater and powerful impact on the country’s economic community than what is being signaled.Former Presidential advisor and financial analyst Ramon Gaskin is of the view that this new position was created for Jagdeo to remain in government and occupy a key position within the country as chairman of the National Economic Council.This body, he said, will give Jagdeo control over the country’s finances since he would be directly involved in policy making and oversight of the public economic sector. Many government ministries and state institutions will fall under this Council and will have to report to its chairman.The council would comprise all the main agencies Gaskin claimed—the Ministry of Finance, Public Works, contracts, state planning, the procurement board, the Bank of Guyana, the Guyana Revenue Authority will all have to report to the economic chairman.He suggested that as much as “three-quarters of the government will be run by Jagdeo while Ramotar will just be the face of the presidency.”President Donald Ramotar“Three quarters of the government will go to Jagdeo under this economic council because it will deal with policy, plus projects, contracts, and state procurements,” Gaskin reiterated. He opined that the idea should be scrapped.The Russian-trained lawyer pointed out, however, that in the United States there is need for a Presidential Council of Economic Advisers, a body similar to what Jagdeo alone has been appointed to chair. He compared the Council to the United States’ Council of Economic Advisors.  These US advisors, he said, advise President Barack Obama on policy. “They have nothing to do with contracts and procurements and those projects. These persons advise on areas of policy such as raising or lowering interest rates, monetary policy, fiscal policy. The advisers are theoretical men that do not run government, but are top private intellectuals in their academic field of study.”“You need such a body,” Gaskin admitted, “but not what they (government) are setting up.” Gaskin said what the government is setting to do involves “projects and contracts and procurement; anything to do with the tax payers money.”He reiterated that policy contracts, projects procurement, everything will go to the Council. “So all foreign investors coming in, they will be sent to Jagdeo. You can’t go to no Minister; you have to go see the chairman involved in everything economic.”And since a great percent of the country’s affairs involve economics, this means that a great percent of the country’s finance will be in Jagdeo’s hands. “He will be running the whole government again, under a different avenue.”“He will be like an economic czar if this government is to win the election. Bank of Guyana will have to come under him because that’s the economy and that’s fiscal and monetary policy which will come under the economic council. Finance Ministry same thing, contracts same thing and the list goes on,” Gaskin emphasized.He reminded, however, that there is no legal authority for the establishment of the economic council so the government “would have to make a law for it, but right now there is no law under which the council can function although this agency will purport to give instructions to the governor of the Bank of Guyana, state planning to the public sector investment programme (PSIP) among others.”Gaskin said that the president can have advisors if he wants. “Anyone can advise the president but in order for the (Council) to have this authority for contracts and policy and so on, there must be laws.”Gaskin believes this new agency may have been the idea of the former president himself as he seeks to remain in government.President Ramotar announced last month that Jagdeo, a trained economist,Discount NFL Jerseys, would start the work of this Council “almost immediately”. He said that Jagdeo’s appointment will allow enhanced performance in many crucial areas to accelerate growth in Guyana.He said that the National Economic Council will, among other things, assist in conceptualising and crafting economic strategies and initiatives as well as support in the oversight in the implementation of various projects and strategic interventions.Ramotar stated that the council will bring greater support to his Government in enhancing and accelerating its transformational and modernisation agenda for Guyana and this will require “the skills of every bright and experienced mind as well as an enabling framework”.Ramotar said that based on Jagdeo’s wealth of experience in the field of economics, both on the local and international stage; he is the ideal individual for the position.Several strategies developed under Jagdeo’s presidency were highlighted before Ramotar suggested that the former president has much to offer, and he kindly agreed to assume responsibility as chair of the National Economic Council.President Ramotar had highlighted that while Jagdeo made clear his non-interest in any constitutional post, Government will ensure it taps into his vast experience and competence in making Guyana a more prosperous nation while the former President offers his service on a pro-bono basis.

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