… says Guyana’s economy not in good state… calls for Ministry of Economic PlanningPolitical Activist, Dr David Hinds on Friday stated that Guyana’s ailing economy is caused by division among the people.In an interview with Guyana Times, Hinds shelved claims that Guyana’s economy is in a good state and peddled the need for the institution of a Ministry of Economic Planning and the development of a national economic plan.“Our economic problems stem from the fact that we have a divided nation and so therefore we do not have a common economic strategy,” he stated, asserting that when a group has power, it is likely to be less interested in including its opposition while those outside of power would be less interested in participating in a national endeavour.“I think that our political divisions have contributed tremendously to our economic problems,” he said and urged both the Government and the Opposition to converse about the economic progression of the country.“Both the Government and the Opposition should sit down and come up with a National Development Plan for Guyana. A National DevelopmentPlan should not be developed by one party or one set of parties. The [People’s Progressive Party] PPP represents half of this country and the coalition represents the other half.”“If they can find a mechanism where together they can come up with a plan then that would be the ideal thing, rather than one calling on the other to come up with a plan,” he added, noting that the parties should pool their visions for the economy and develop “something that represent and reflects the nation”.“Both parties would have their vision of which direction they would want to see the economy heading but when you join together the vision is larger.”Dr Hinds stated that while more emphasis should be placed on economic development, he is not of the opinion that the Business Ministry is the “place for that kind of thing or the Ministry of Finance”.He explained that those ministries would have their own agendas and given the magnitude of economic development, a need for its own ministry is much needed. “We need a Ministry of Economic Planning and even if not a ministry, there should be a prominent section that deals with economic planning,” Hinds reiterated.Citing Guyana’s relationship to the Caribbean and a rapidly changing world, Dr Hinds stated that the country would constantly need to implement novel economic strategies.“You can make a plan now and then something happens in Europe and you would have to adjust. So given the nature of our economies, we would constantly have to adjust to things that are happening in the wider world.”Former Auditor General Anand Goolsarran recently said the answer to the country’s economic woes could be found if a Ministry of Economic Development and Planning is established.Goolsarran – who is a transparency advocate – said economic planning was a prerequisite for any country’s development and given Guyana’s economic status, it made sense for the country to have a Ministry of Economics.“I don’t see the need for a Ministry of Social Cohesion, or why we should have separated Ministries for Business and Tourism.The question is why a Ministry of Economics was left out by this new Cabinet?” he asked.Although he was aware that the Finance Ministry had some responsibility for economics, Goolsarran stated that the Finance Minister’s portfolio was already weighty and the country’s economics would require more attention.He also emphasised the need for an economic plan to take the country forward. “Guyana urgently needs an economic plan, especially in our current economic situation.”Goolsarran had scolded the coalition Government for its denial of the current ailing state of the country’s economy. He said a three per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product did not mean that all was well with the economy.“The Government is in denial that the economy is slowing down, but it is evident,” he stated.Goolsarran indicated that 40 per cent of the youths are unemployed, there was evidence of under-employment, businesses were struggling and there was also the existence of parallel economies.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had affirmed, however, that the economy was in good shape by presenting statistics and explanations in support of the Government’s defence. He had cited the commendation of the International Monetary Fund on Guyana’s economic growth, which is projected to be four per cent this year.Jordan also contended that the IMF report should not be doubted or challenged, since it was already established that the body was neutral.The last National Development Plan was developed over a decade ago but was never implemented.