…..as rates for essential services increase
By Vanessa Braithwaite
As is the case nationally and internationally, Lindeners are affected by the rapid increase in commodities and now essential services are also joining the line of increases, with garbage collection increasing from $2000.00 to $3000.00 and taxi fare increasing by one or two hundred dollars. With Linden’s agricultural sector not being sufficient, the cost for vegetables, fruits and ground provision, most of which have to be imported from other regions, is also a growing concern for residents. The town also remains one with the highest unemployment rate.
Fares for transportation have increased and drivers believe this increase is justified because of the rise in fuel prices. “First I use to pay like $10,000.00 to fill my tank, now is like $15,000.00 so with that, we had to raise the fare,” one taxi driver lamented.
Cevon’s Waste Management, the town’s main garbage collection company, has also increased its rates from $2000.00 to $3000.00. Chief Executive Officer of the company, Morris Archer, told INFO 10, that not only the rise in the price of fuel has resulted in the increase but a number of other factors, such as the increase in air freight. “We have seen a significant increase in the past year for the cost of shipping items to Guyana. The air freight is costlier that it use to be and most of our equipment, spare parts and items are shipped in from China,” he explained. Archer said like everyone else, the increase in the cost of living, has also affected his employees, hence there was need to increase their wages. In addition, with the modernization of garbage collection and disposal, there was need to offer a more attractive remuneration package to workers.
Relative to groceries, prices have skyrocketed and some grocery stores in the town, are not selling certain items because of the wholesale cost. For example, eggs are now scarce and some shops are selling one for as much as $70.00. Vegetable, meat and fruits have also seen significant increases.
Regional Agricultural Officer Deryck Collins, told INFO 10, that the Department of Agriculture is initiating measures to assist residents with starting their own kitchen gardens. The ‘from the farm to pot’ initiative, will allow for members of the public to be supplied with seedlings, seeds and other items needed to start their kitchen gardens. While the Department is aiming to help as much people as possible, the increase in the cost for seedlings and other items will limit its capacity. He said the region has seen a 20 percent increase in domestic production and is pushing for an increase in commercial production as well. Collins explained that the production rate for commercial agricultural operation in Linden, is 10 times costlier than that of other regions, since most of the supplies such as fertilizers and seedlings are not available in the region. To combat this, Collins said a seedling house in currently under construction which will see the production of seedlings on a large scale.
While the government provided part time jobs to residents to help combat the rise in cost of living, navigating it remains challenging. In an invited comment, Regional Chairman Deron Adams, believes the government needs to enact policies to mitigate over consumption through sustainable public sector investment into macroeconomic capital infrastructure projects and the productive sectors in the region. “Pouring consumption money into the economy through the many cash grant initiatives which mostly serve to feed into over consumption and the false perception of economic growth, leads to negative economic impacts, significant contribution to inflation and increased commodity prices, rather than improved economic outcomes in the medium term.”
The Regional Democratic Council (RDC), is calling for a more holistic Public Investment Management Assessment, with improved transparent rule bearing frameworks, spelling out targets for capital spending in the region.
“We the people of Region 10 need to feel the impact of government’s policy which spells out the public/private partnership policy framework for Region 10 for large investment project in real-estate, tourism, export agriculture, ICT and the financial sector.”