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By Sase Singh IntroductionHoneymoon always gives the impression that the good times are coming to an end. It is the same in politics. Political honeymoon lasts as long as instructed by the people. I am of the firm opinion that the honeymoon for President Granger is now firmly over. Please, Mr. President – no more excuses.The majority of people voted for Team Granger because this team put themselves out as the team to solve the major developmental challenges of our time in Guyana – growing perception of personal insecurity (crime), a broken judicial system, heavy corruption at all levels in the public service,Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale, opaque public sector projects that were perceived to be contributing to the enrichment of a select few, a mal-functional productive sector, a demotivated working class and a hardcore level of human poverty that seems not to be going away.Now that 25 percent of the Granger Term is gone, in the minds of many, the nation is today further away from the goals set by the Coalition in its manifesto back in May 2015. In short, it is becoming more apparent that we have marched backward on many fronts.There seems to be a stultification in economic growth for the poor and the working class. There are good reasons for this incoherent economic state of affair; there is a famine of strategic analytics in the Granger administration. This stone scam is but the latest case of this intellectual deprivation when it comes to making sound and strategic long-term decision for Guyana.Any sensible Minister of Finance would have intervened because of the economic consequence of this stone scam. Price or no price,Cheap Nike Shox Shoes, all efforts should have been made to ensure that the Guyanese quarries match the Surinamese price to at least partially supply on this contract for 300,Cheap NFL Jerseys China,000 tonnes of crushed stones. The alternative that is being imposed on the nation by the Granger administration will have severe long-term socio-economic implications.You just cannot lift G$1.6 billion in cash and deposit it in a foreign country and expect everything to be kosher. This is tantamount to giving the children of Guyana buses and boats with one hand and a debt of G$1.6 billion with the other hand? Economic absurdity!This Stone ScamIt is not only possible for the productive sector (in which the quarrying sector is a member) to lead the recovery of the Guyanese economy with growth and hiring; it is a necessity. To help achieve a sustained economic recovery, our country needs a consumer-led commitment to buying Guyanese-made products, which supports the Guyanese productive sector jobs.More Guyanese productive sector jobs not only reduce the unemployment rate but also expand the tax base to pay for benefits, like NIS. And jobs will come if the Granger administration supports a “BUY-LOCAL” programme when spending taxpayer dollars. Every new job created in the quarrying sector will cause a town like Bartica to directly benefit from restaurant workers to heavy machine operators and so on.I was advised that it was estimated that if this deal was offered to the Guyanese quarries, for every new job created as a result, an average of four additional jobs would have been created in Region Seven, a PNC stronghold. Why is the PNC leadership punishing their supporters?This decision to buy crushed stones from a foreign country just does not make any sense. Instead, we went for short-term payback for a few and totally cashiered the longer-term economic advancement for the nation by signing this “lopsided contract” between the Chinese contractor and the Chinese/Suriname stone suppliers. The direct consequences of this contract are that all the potential new quarrying jobs that could have been created in Guyana over the next 12 months have now been exported to a foreign country.For the last 40 years and counting, Guyana has run a trade deficit. In 2015, the merchandise trade deficit was G$64 billion, according to the Bank of Guyana Annual Report. The main reason for the trade deficit in most of those years was the fact that we are an importer of oil. However, for most of 2015 and 2016, the low oil prices enhance Guyana’s position with respect to this trade deficit. But have we capitalised on this opportunity?Well if you look at the juice contract and the stone contract, they are just two of the many “loop-sided” contracts that were awarded under the Granger government that makes very little business sense.Here we had an opportunity to expand the quarrying sector, by ensuring that the invitation for tenders had a price cap and a geographic clause that restricted the tender to quarry located within a certain geographic range to preserve the buy local element. Only if there are no local takers,Cheap Nike Air Max 2018, can companies outside of that radius be considered.But clearly, because we have a shortage of proper contract management skills and strategic thinkers in the Office of the Minister of Public Infrastructure,China Cheap Jerseys, the Granger administration bungled the entire re-negotiation process on the Airport Contract. They clearly dropped the ball! This is plain and simple old-fashioned incompetence from Minister Patterson and his legal team. Or is it something else? Was there some level of grease on the procurement value chain?Best PracticeIn 2015 total exports increased by a mere 0.2% to G$245 billion. Rather than building our productive sectors to expand our export base, reduce the trade deficit and enhance the fortunes of the nation, we continue to marginalised industries in which we have core competencies. This is a frontal attack on the quarrying sector. It will take years to repair the economic damage from this stone scam.Need we remind ourselves of history and how great countries were built? In the 1950s India was one of the world’s leading importers of food grains and because of a shortage of foreign currency and the inability to import enough grains,Cheap Adidas NHL Jerseys, people were starving by the hundreds of thousands. The father of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, had the vision to foresee the potential threats to India’s national security because of food scarcity, excessive dependence on food imports and low foreign exchange reserves.He immediately embarked upon the agrarian reforms and a system of extensive agriculture research in newly established agricultural universities, source high yielding seeds and ensures that his government provided all the necessary financial and administrative support to their grain industry.The end result? In less than 10 years, India was able to stabilise the situation. Today India is one of the top five exporters of grains, generating more than US$600 million from grain exports alone. It is called leadership!CONCLUSIONWe have a huge trade deficit because we’re importing far more than we’re exporting and this stifles potential economic growth. Part of the answer to our economic problems is in our own backyard.The answer is: buy local and support your own to become more cost efficient and competitive. In doing so, we’ll reduce our trade deficit, support a higher tax base and achieve greater economic growth. That starts with the procurement conducted with all government funds. In America, there is a system called FLY AMERICA and BUY AMERICA as far as possible when you are spending federal tax dollars. Why should it be any different in Guyana?