Independence of central bank essential – economist

first_imgIn comparing Guyana with Ghana in the context of their oil and gas sectors, Guyana-born economist Collin Constantine has declared that if this country did not protect the independence of the central bank, it could lead to several complications that may have long-lasting effects on the country’s financial standing.Collin ConstantineConstantine, who was one of the presenters at a forum organised by Moray House Trust on Wednesday evening, made a panel presentation and discussion entitled “What will oil do for Guyana?” The young economist told the small gathering that the legislation in Ghana supported the central bank’s independence (this obtains in Guyana as well).But according to him, this did not stop the Ghanaian Government of the day from abusing its power, which led to the country suffering from the oil curse. In fact, during his 20-minute Powerpoint presentation, Constantine noted that post 2007 the bank’s financing of the Government of Ghana increased by 640 per cent. This, he said, was political control of the central bank.He explained that the international standard and recommendation for balance of payments and sustainability is three months of import cover. It means that each central Bank should keep three months’ international reserves in the vaults that could cover three months of imports. “This is the minimum. Anything below of imports you have a crisis. This is the moment you invite the [International Monetary Fund] IMF,” he added.The economist noted that Ghana discovered oil in 2007 and started production in 2010. At the point of production, immediately after 2010, balance of payment import cover went below three months. This, he explained, was related to the irresponsible funding of Government by the central bank. “When you provide loans to the Government, that increases aggregate demand. Industrial capacity is limited in Ghana just like Guyana. It means much of that demand will spill over to imports. This will put pressure on reserves, lead to depreciation of the currency and inflation in the economy, which indeed is the Ghanaian experience. This is why we have an independent central bank,” he asserted. Constantine, therefore, argued that given the similar nature of the discovery and production in Guyana and Ghana and the fact that the political structure of executive power is the same, there is an urgent need for constitutional reform. This, according to him, will help to limit political influence and ensure that the central bank operates independently as it should, without any hindrances. Another similarity between the two countries is that they have two dominant political parties with fairly similar political support, and they have a Petroleum Management Act to ensure fiscal accountability. They also have a Sovereign Wealth Fund and a Stabilisation Fund. But in getting into the details of the issues Ghana faced, Constantine showed statistics which showed that post production, the fiscal deficit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased substantially. Political consensus was another point raised by Constantine, who explained that based on his research, most oil-producing countries which have a similar political structure such as Guyana, where there is executive power and politicians are selected through proportional representation, have had many issues. “The resource curse exists in natural resources-rich countries that have little limits on executive power. So, it’s not a case that all resource-rich countries suffer from the resource curse…Constitutions matter, political systems matter for how oil will affect Guyana,” he opined. As Guyana’s debt continues to rise, there have been some concerns in several quarters of society that the coalition Government’s spending is spiralling out of control and should be better managed, or the country could be faced with insurmountable challenges in years to come.Economists, financial analysts, and politicians alike have argued that the current Administration was engaged in too much borrowing in light of the pending oil sector. But these critics have also warned that this could have severe economic and financial implications for the country.Nevertheless, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has repeatedly defended Government’s position when it comes to borrowing against future oil revenues. Jordan stated that the Government was actually uneasy about borrowing in that regard. The Minister said that while tempting, as it would provide important resources to finance many critical pipeline projects, it was not something that Government would do.However, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, who has opposed extensive borrowing by Government, recently said that the debt accumulated from 2015 to 2018, plus the $30 billion loan from Republic Bank, coupled with the US$900 million, which the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) predicted that Government would borrow from the Islamic Development Bank, doubles the total debt which the PPP had left after 24 years in Government. Political consensus was another point raised by Constantine, who explained that based on his research, most oil producing countries which has a similar political structure such as Guyana, where there is executive power and politicians are selected through proportional representation, have had many issues.“The resource curse exists in natural resources rich countries that have little limits on executive power. So, it’s not a case that all resource rich countries suffer from the resource curse…Constitutions matter, political systems matte for how oil will affect Guyana,” he opined.As Guyana’s debt continues to rise, there have been some concerns in several quarters of society that the coalition Government’s spending is spiraling out of control and should be better managed, or the country could be faced with insurmountable challenges in years to come.Economists, financial analysts and politicians alike have argued that the current administration is engaged in too much borrowing and is using that opportunity in light of the impending oil sector. But these same critics have also warned that this could have severe economic and financial implications for the country.Nevertheless, Finance Minister Winston Jordan has repeatedly defended Government’s position when it comes to borrowing against future oil revenues. Jordan stated that the Government is actually uneasy about borrowing in that regard. The minister said that while tempting, as it would provide important resources to finance many critical pipeline projects, it is not something that Government will do.However, Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo who has opposed extensive borrowing by Government, recently said that the debt accumulated from 2015 to 2018, plus the 30 billion from Republic Bank, coupled with the US$900 million, which PPP predicts that Government will borrow from the Islamic Development Bank, doubles the total debt which the PPP had left after 24 years in Government.last_img read more

Indian Affairs books on schools are a mess PBO

first_imgAPTN National NewsIn 2009, Canada’s Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page examined the way Indian Affairs oversees on-reserve schools.Page said the record books at Indian Affairs are in terrible condition and, as a result, the schools are suffering.APTN National News reporter Annette Francis tells us what Page discovered in Indian Affairs’ files.last_img

Duke Arizona And Michigan State Are Biggest Tourney Gainers

Pretty much every team that survives its first two games and advances to the Sweet 16 has the right to be pleased with its performance. But four men’s teams — Duke, Arizona, Michigan State and Gonzaga — should be especially giddy. Their odds of winning the championship have improved the most so far.In the table below, I’ve compared the 16 surviving teams in two ways: First, by the change in their power rating in the FiveThirtyEight forecast since before the tournament began, and second, by the change in their probability of winning the tournament.Teams’ power ratings can change for two reasons. Our model updates the power ratings at the end of each game based on how a team performs relative to its expectations. A team that wins by an especially wide margin, or that wins as an underdog, will see the largest gains. By contrast, a team’s power rating may decline if it wins by a smaller-than-expected margin.We’re also continually updating the model with new data on player injuries. Two injury situations are the most critical so far: North Carolina’s Kennedy Meeks’ Sweet 16 status is uncertain after he hurt his knee in the Tar Heels’ Saturday win against Arkansas. And Wisconsin point guard Traevon Jackson has yet to play despite hopes that he might have returned.Apart from the changes in its power rating, a team’s chances of winning the tournament can change because its draw becomes harder or easier. Michigan State’s probability has improved not just because they beat Virginia, for instance, but also because the No. 1 seed in the East region, Villanova, was ousted by North Carolina State.Here’s a quick look at the teams with the largest shift in their probability:Duke’s championship probability has roughly doubled to 11.9 percent from 5.7 percent. The Blue Devils won their first two games easily, and they were helped by losses elsewhere in the bracket, especially to Iowa State, their one-time potential opponent in the Elite Eight.Arizona’s chances have improved to 14.5 percent from 9.5 percent. The Wildcats have also been helped by an upset: Instead of facing No. 3 seed Baylor in their Sweet 16 game, they’ll get Xavier. It helps, too, that Wisconsin, Arizona’s potential Elite Eight opponent, has not looked as strong as the model had them originally.Almost everything has gone Michigan State’s way: The Spartans beat the No. 2 seed in their region, Virginia, and got a lot of credit for it in the model. But the No. 1 seed in the East, Villanova, was eliminated too. The Spartans are now the favorite to reach the Final Four from the East and have some chance to go further than that — they were underseeded to begin with, and will stay reasonably close to home for the rest of the tournament with the remaining games in Syracuse and Indianapolis. (Plus, there’s Tom Izzo’s amazing run of postseason success, although the model doesn’t give them any extra credit for that.)Gonzaga won easily on Sunday against an Iowa team that looked excellent in its opening game. Its path has also gotten easier because of the elimination of Iowa State, a team they could have played in Sweet 16. Instead, they’re 75 percent favorites to win their grudge match against UCLA.By contrast, Wisconsin and North Carolina’s probabilities have declined slightly, partly because of their injury issues and partly because Arizona looms large in the West regional, which will be played in Los Angeles. Wisconsin also played a closer game against Oregon than the model expected.Still, Wisconsin retains the fourth-best overall chance to win the tournament, after Kentucky, Arizona and Duke. And even if the Badgers don’t win the tournament, their chances of winning an NCAA spelling bee are up after they learned all about stenography this weekend. What’s a 10-letter word for “in the hunt?”Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

North East comes calling

first_imgThe event held an interactive session based on the North East Fest and several discussions were conducted regarding how the fest is playing a vital role in enhancing the North East market. A fashion show was organised during the event where Soha Ali Khan, actor and brand ambassador of the NEF walked the ramp accompanied by other models.Explaining the importance of the event, director of Home Affairs North East division, Ajay Kanaujia said, ‘NEF is an important step in bringing the North East closer to the rest of the country. With the Delhi chapter the event is sure to bring national focus to the splendor that this region contains across industries be it fashion ,music, food, culture or tourism. We look forward to open a platform to provide various opportunities for the people of the region.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Speaking about the upcoming fest Soha said, ‘The NEF in its second edition will prove to be even more bigger and better occasion for the promotion of talent, craft, skill, food and beauty in the North East. I am personally a big fan of everything from this area, the food, the warm and friendly people,the musical tradition, the fashion, the intricate and their weaving skills. I look forward to the NEF as it will allows everyone to get acquainted with the delights this region has to offer.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixDeka, a fashion designer from Guwahati said, ‘North East and its people have always been known for fashion in the entire nation. The design in its area is a perfect blend of global style and traditional allure. The NEF will bring the immense wealth in design and fashion to the fore at the mainstream level. The workshop and one-on-one interaction with design will offer an opportunity for exchange and learning for both the designers and the aspiring members of the fashion.’The dignitaries who were present during the event were Chairman and MD of National Textile Corporation, RK Sinha, Director Technical, RK Sharma and Joi Barua, famous Singer of North East.last_img read more