Minister’s half-year report numbers raise serious concerns about data quality and integrity

first_imgDear Editor,Forecasts are as good as the data used to prepare them. In public finance, it is critical that forecasts are based on good quality data since they are used to inform public policies which ultimately affects the lives of every citizen. The current cycle for preparing the national budget as per statutes was structured in a way that allows sufficient time to complete and accurate data to inform the budget estimates and to make policy adjustments for the next fiscal year. Unfortunately, the caretaker Minister of Finance (the Minister) incessantly rushed to deliver the national budget at the earliest possible time for the past four years, but this haste brought great harm to the completeness and accuracy of the data and the budget planning process. It is no surprise that the national budgets for the last few years have failed to deliver any meaningful change in the lives of average Guyanese. So while the official number screams 4.1 per cent growth, ask the ordinary man or the local Private Sector if they are experiencing this growth and you will hear a distinctly opposite story. The Minister chose to label their utterance as “trotted out numbers” but we are of the opinion that the Private Sector seems to have a better grasp of the tone of the economy than the Minister and we shall illustrate why below.The table on the “half-year balance of payment data for 2018” below seeks to bring light to this disconnect between what the Minister preaches and what happens in reality. The half-year report for 2018 was released on August 8, 2018, and the half-year report for 2019 was released on August 9, 2019. Clearly, both reports were prepared after the first six months of 2018. Logic will dictate that these two sets of numbers for the balance of payment performance during the first half of 2018 should be the same on both reports with minor differences for rounding errors. But this is clearly not the case.The table below shows enormous differences between the numbers originating from the 2018 and 2019 half-year reports, despite the “data-set” in question is referring to the same period – the first six months of 2018. For example, in the 2018 half-year report, the Minister claimed that the net current account balance was a deficit of US$194.2 million; in the 2019 half-year report, he claimed that the deficit (for the same period in 2018) was a deficit of US$578.6 million. If we assume that the 2019 numbers are correct, it means that in 2018, the Minister’s analysis was off by more than 200 per cent.We found that this error is not a one-off mistake or oversight. What we found was a series of systematic errors that show up in multiple places on the comparator table and in multiple publications coming out of the Ministry of Finance. Such poor quality data raises some very important concerns and questions.Other cardinal errors include (1) the considerable misstatement of the value of non-factor services, which include business services (which includes services contracted for oil exploration), transportation services, consulting and management services, insurance services, and advertising and marketing research services and communication services, and (2) grave inaccuracy in the amount classified as capital transfers from the Private Sector for the first half of 2018. Non-factor services and capital transfers from the Private Sector are key economic indicators of the health of the economy. So if the Ministry of Finance cannot get this right, then what can they get right?Such poor analysis and budgeting raise two major concerns. First, which of these numbers should the public trust? Is any of them correct? How can the Private Sector (the engine for growth), plan if it cannot rely on these numbers? What other indicators suffer from this same problem? Did the economy grow by 4.1 per cent? These are genuine questions that investors, analysts and planners are concerned about. Understandably, there will always be an acceptable margin of error when dealing with statistics, especially when forecasting is involved. But this is exactly the reason why the timing of the national budget should not be sacrificed for political expediency and optics. To intentionally or unintentionally ignore the consequences of ramming through the budgeting process for political expediency and bragging rights is to gamble with businesses’ investments, the livelihood of workers and the credibility of the data.Second, such poor analysis, forecast and budgeting raise the question of on what exactly did the Ministry spend that $135 billion that was assigned to it since 2015? Was any portion of it used for building technical capacity and staff training to improve the quality of data collection and analysis? If so, where are the signs of the improvements? It is not unreasonable for taxpayers to expect reliable and credible data regarding the state of public finances and the economy. Good economic management and policymaking begin with good fiscal and economic analyses for which dependable and trustworthy data is key. The Minister of Finance, like every other public officer has to ensure that the public is truthfully informed on the state of affairs of the nation. Unfortunately, the integrity and veracity of the data released by the Minister fail these simple tests and seems to be doing more harm than good to the nation.Sincerely,Sasenarine SinghDhanraj Singhlast_img read more

City Hall to begin paying owed workers by October

first_imgThe Mayor and City Council (M&CC) has committed to start paying over 100 of its workers who are owed retroactive salaries in October. This was on Friday related to Guyana Times by City Hall’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Debra Lewis.She said the decision was agreed to by General Secretary of the Guyana Labour Union (GLU), Carvil Duncan, during a recent meeting.Lewis explained that the workers will receive their payments based on a salary scale. “The money will be paid incrementally and that will be done according to salary scales, where the persons at the bottom of the scale will be paid first starting from the month of October,” she shared.The decision between the two parties comes on the heels of protest action, whereSome of the workers protesting on Monday in front of City Halla number of workers from various departments at City Hall on Monday took to the streets in protest to express their frustration over the non-payment of their retroactive salary, along with the non-payment of their National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and other issues.Town Clerk Royston King said on Monday City Hall is now working on a payment plan to pay outstanding amounts to owed to workers.The workers have contended that they are owed money from the year 2016 and the entire of 2017.Regarding the non-payment of the NIS, the Town Clerk related that “other concerns raised by the union are being adequately addressed by the Mayor and City Council”.King on Tuesday told the GLU that the Georgetown municipality is unable to pay its workers in lump sum the money owed to them for retroactive payments on wages and salaries and increases given to the workers.“We’re protesting here because of an injustice that [has] been going on here for the longest while. I wuking here 10 years now, and you ain’t getting nothing tangible. Everything is just promises, promises, and nothing ain’t coming out of it…” a protester decried.Over the years, City Hall has been attracting attention for its inability to pay its workers. The Mayor has been recorded in the media as deeming the Municipality “bankrupt”; and in the past, Central Government has had to intervene with financing to provide a bailout. However, City Hall came in for much criticism after it budgeted $19 million for its 175th anniversary celebrations when workers’ NIS, Union dues and PAYEE have remained unpaid.last_img read more

FSJ’s Kirby Dreher off to the Canadian Women’s Open

first_imgKirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C. outlasted the field Tuesday to claim top honours and an exemption into the Canadian Women’s Open.Dreher, a 21 year-old amateur who attends Kent State University, started the day 4 strokes ahead of the pack in the final event on the Canadian Women’s Tour, but shot a 4 over par 76 to edge out the field and complete the amateur sweep of the women’s tour season.Struggling down the stretch at Camelot Golf and Country Club, Dreher’s scorecard included five birdies, seven bogeys and a double bogey with most of the damage happening on the back nine. She sat at 1 under par heading into Tueday’s final holes, but made a double bogey on the 11th to momentarily sit tied with Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que.Advertisement – Advertisement -Despite regularly getting into trouble off the tee, Dreher persevered by hitting a number of miraculous recovery shots which lead to a birdie on the 12th and an incredible par on 14. “I was in some pretty deep trouble on 14,” said an elated Dreher. “I hit my tee shot into the trees in the middle of the split fairway and hit an incredible punch shot to 15 feet which helped me to save par.”Dreher edged out Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alta., Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., and Sara-Maude Juneau of Fossambault, Que. by a single stroke. In addition, four more exemptions were awarded thanks to spots made available through the Canadian Women’s Tour Order of Merit final standings.The 2008 Order of Merit standings were lead all year by Sue Kim, who finished with 1487.5 points to round out her dominant year on tour.Earning Order of Merit exemptions into this year’s Canadian Women’s Open are Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alta., with 845 points, Seema Sadekar of Toronto with 832.5 points, Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, B.C., with 725 points and Jessica Carafiello of Coral Springs, Fla., with 712.5. (courtesy of the CP)last_img read more

Raheem Sterling’s transfer fee revealed – how much Liverpool will want for star attacker

first_img1 Raheem Sterling There are two words on every Liverpool fan’s lips at present: Raheem Sterling.The 20-year-old seems to have his heart set on an Anfield exit this summer. A deal worth a whopping £100,000-a-week has been rejected, bridges have been burned and Brendan Rodgers must be fuming.Although the England international’s agent, Aidy Ward, has told talkSPORT that his client’s situation has been “blown out of proportion”, there is no smoke – not of the shisha variety – without fire, and speculation surrounding Sterling will intensify until his future is resolved.Signed from Queens Park Rangers in 2010, the Jamaican-born forward has been heralded as the future of the club, a man to build around, a leading light. He was part of the ‘SASAS’ combination that went so close to helping the Merseysiders claim a maiden Premier League title last term and appeared to have established himself as a player that was in it for the long haul.Sterling will not be short of potential suitors should he, as expected, tell Rodgers of his desire to leave the club later in the week. The destinations that have been mooted for the Englishman are among the most prestigious outfits in the world. They certainly won’t be short of financial muscle.But how much is Sterling actually worth? Are current valuations that are flying around overpriced? Or do they represent market value? talkSPORT has assessed which circumstances, or complications, could affect the sum of money that Liverpool could secure for the forwards’ services.FACTORS THAT WILL DECIDE RAHEEM STERLING’S TRANSFER VALUEAgeAt just 20 years of age, Sterling still has most of his career ahead of him. Yet despite that tender age, Sterling is already a veteran of 95 Premier League games, with 18 top flight goals to his name. His Premier League debut arrived in October 2012, alongside the likes of Pepe Reina, Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt, and injuries permitting, he should have at least a decade at the top ahead of him (as long as he doesn’t get too tired).There are two key factors that can lead to primary fees in football, and it can often prove to be a toss up between the two when a valuation needs to be sought. Clubs will either pay through the nose for a player because they are at the peak of their powers and their arrival will lead to an immediate impact, or value is added due to the likelihood that longevity can be achieved.For example, the prospect of Luke Shaw lining up on the left hand side of Manchester United’s flank well into his 30s certainly played a part in the Red Devils’ decision to make the former Southampton defender one of the most expensive teenagers on the planet last summer. Liverpool will be able to base their asking price on the fact that Sterling is not only ready for first-team action, but also that his future employers could enjoy years of service, if not command a huge sell on fee in the future.NationalityEnglishmen come at a premium in the Premier League, rightly or wrongly. An influx of foreign players has seen regular opportunities difficult to come by for English players that, in years gone by, would have carved out a decent career for themselves in the top tier, but the cream still rises to the top.With homegrown quotas to fulfill, top class English players come at a premium and Sterling is now an established member of Roy Hodgson’s set up. At last summer’s World Cup he was arguably one of the first names on the team sheet, behind captain Wayne Rooney and goalkeeper Joe Hart.As a result, his price will eclipse the £25 million that Liverpool paid Southampton for Adam Lallana last summer. The former Saints’ captain’s route to the top came via a stint in the lower leagues and he enjoyed his ‘breakthrough’ in his mid-20s. Sterling, by contrast, burst on to the scene five years earlier.As well as homegrown quotas, the Premier League’s elite are all keen to have a core of British players in their respective teams, increasing appeal among the loyal, local fan base and improving commercial revenue.Sterling ticks all the boxes in this regard and, let’s be frank, for several years there has not been an emerging English player as eye-catching in his displays as the Liverpool forward.Status at LiverpoolSterling’s exit would be a blow to Liverpool, but it is not yet akin to losing a talent on the level of Luis Suarez, or a totem like Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.He may be highly rated, but Sterling is not a figure who is cherished at Anfield. Losing a young England international is not ideal, but he is not yet the finished article.The symbolism of Sterling’s departure would be greatly affected were he to move abroad, rather than to another Premier League club. Rumours of interest from Bayern Munich could help drive the price down, as Liverpool would no doubt feel less uncomfortable selling to an overseas Champions League giant, as opposed to a direct Premier League rival.Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, have proven that they can dig their heels in when another Premier League club comes sniffing around the Reds’ talent. Luis Suarez seemed to be destined for a move to Arsenal in 2013, before the club’s stance hardened and they retained the striker’s services, with spectacular results.Achievements to dateAccording to former Liverpool player John Barnes, Sterling has achieved “nothing” in the game. Ok, he hasn’t filled his boots with trophies, but since when is that the sole parameter for a players’ success?Sterling perhaps hasn’t justified the hype, but he is already an England regular and arguably the key man in Liverpool’s attack, making 35 Premier League appearances this term – 10 more than any other player aged 20 or under in the entire division.Contract situationSterling’s current contract expires in June 2017 and because he will be under 23 on that date, he cannot leave Liverpool for nothing, meaning a tribunal would set the fee. It is unlikely the Reds would receive a sum as large as any transfer fee paid this summer, which may force the club’s hand. But the knowledge that they are in no danger of losing Sterling for nothing strengthens Liverpool’s bargaining position.HOW MUCH IS RAHEEM STERLING WORTH, THEN?Taking into account all these factors, bidding clubs may see a figure of £30m as the starting point for any bids, but Liverpool are in a position to swat away such a sum and hold out for a higher bid. Much will depend on how many teams are seriously interested in the Englishman.It’s likely that the Reds would want something in the region of £50m from any Premier League rival, a figure that even mega-wealthy Manchester City would probably baulk at.Like any negotiation, the bidder’s low offer and the seller’s steep price tag would probably be hammered out to a sum somewhere in the middle – potentially around the £40m mark.This proposed fee may seem steep given that Sterling is far from the finished article, and also has question marks hanging over his head in regards to attitude, but his potential and the premium placed on England internationals mean that inflation of his price tag is inevitable.last_img read more

Sergio Aguero reveals he has a good friendship with Man United star

first_img Aguero in action for City during their opening weekend win over Arsenal 2 targets shining REVEALED smart causal “But he plays at United and I play at City.”The striker was speaking for the City’s Amazon Prime documentary ‘All or Nothing’, which starts tomorrow.He added: “I have a cinema. I prefer action or mafia movies. As I’m on my own I don’t watch horror movies.“I’d have to lock myself in the house or in my room.” Latest Manchester City news REVEALED silverware They are rivals on the pitch but Aguero revealed he and De Gea are firm friends off it possible standings Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Where every Premier League club needs to strengthen in January Benjamin visits his father once a month, so when Aguero is on his own he’ll turn to City and international team-mate Nicolas Otamendi as well as De Gea.Aguero said: “Benjamin lives with his mother in Argentina. He goes to school there.“He spends a week here every month. He has a room here and when my siblings come, they stay here too.“But most of the time I’m on my own. If not, I’ll hang out with Nico Otamendi — or David De Gea.“I hang out a lot with De Gea because we played together at Atletico Madrid. We have a good friendship. How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures whoops England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade Did Mahrez just accidentally reveal Fernandinho is leaving Man City this summer? Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won 2 Manchester City’s record goalscorer Sergio Aguero has revealed he is friends with Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea despite being big rivals on the pitch.Aguero, 30, lives on his own as his estranged wife and son Benjamin live in his native Argentina. Aguero has all manner of memorabilia in his house including a table football featuring City’s squad from their 2011/12 Premier League winning season which saw the Argentine score a dramatic last-gasp goal against QPR to take the title away from United.He said: “When I look back on that goal, it was crazy.”On the title-winning strike, captain Vincent Kompany said: “Everything collapsed, we all jumped on each other.“The fans were crying. It was like we had witnessed the end of the world and we were ready for it.“The next thing we knew we’d been sent to paradise.“There was a paradise at the end.”last_img read more

DDTV: MOJO GOGO’S STUNNING NEW VIDEO FOR THEIR FIRST SINGLE – WATCH IT HERE!

first_imgDONEGAL band Mojo GoGo are thrilled to finally release their long awaited first single “Like The Sun”.The single and video was released today across their social media websites.Niki Pollock on Guitar and vocals, Keelin Gallagher, Bassist and singer along with guitarist Paul Rodgers and drummer Jordan Carty have been going from strength to strength.The single which is a Digital Only release can now be bought on iTunes. And you can watch it here now – by clicking play.The lads have been locked away in their rehearsal space for the past two months gearing up for the eagerly awaited release.Mojo GoGo had their release gig for the single on Wednesday night in The Grand Social, Dublin.The single release gig was also an Industry Showcase in which some of the biggest names in the Irish music industry came to watch them perform to the SOLD OUT crowd of 300+ supporters.Mojo GoGo have had major success throughout their short career. Most recently they have been featured on the same bill as the FOO FIGHTERS at Tennents Vital in Belfast.The future is looking bright for our very own local stars.Please support the boys and download their first single “Like The Sun” from iTunes today!Niki Pollock on Guitar and vocals, Keelin Gallagher, Bassist and singer along with guitarist Paul Rodgers and drummer Jordan Carty DDTV: MOJO GOGO’S STUNNING NEW VIDEO FOR THEIR FIRST SINGLE – WATCH IT HERE! was last modified: November 10th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DDTV: MOJO GOGO’S STUNNING NEW VIDEO FOR THEIR FIRST SINGLE – WATCH IT HERE!last_img read more

SUPER JASON WINS WITH ANOTHER KNOCK-OUT

first_imgJASON Quigley has won his third professional fight in a row – with another stunning first round victory.And this time the whole of America was watching as Jason fought on the undercard of the Murphy’s Monster Television Brawl.Middleweight Jason was first on the TV coverage of the bout in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and got the televised portion of the card off to a raucous start by catching Greg McCoy flush with a right that left the New Haven native stunned in his opponent’s corner at 2:39 of the first. Once again Jason was supported by a good travelling Irish support.But with Irish-American Danny O’Connor the main feature (he also won) Jason felt right at home.Even the Boston Police gaelic pipe band was on hand.  SUPER JASON WINS WITH ANOTHER KNOCK-OUT was last modified: October 31st, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:FightJason Quigleyknock outwinlast_img read more

Saints’ Sean Payton says 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo ‘clearly’ a winner

first_imgBRADENTON, Fla. — Jimmy Garpopolo’s history with Sean Payton traces, of course, to their roots as Eastern Illinois quarterbacks.“I met him, he probably doesn’t remember it, but my freshman year. He came back and got his number retired at Eastern,” Garoppolo recalled.Has Garoppolo’s No. 10 jersey hasn’t gotten the same treatment at their alma mater?“No. No. I think I’ve got to do a little more, first. Ha!” Garoppolo said. SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 24: Quarterback Jimmy …last_img

Entrepreneurship key to jobs for youth

first_imgA young craft artist at work in Upington in the Northern Cape, one of the poorest regions of South Africa. Selling craftwork is one small business that allows the unemployed to survive in the economy better than they did before. (Image: Brand South Africa) • Sandisiwe Gugushe Public Relations International: Brand South Africa +27 11 483 0122 +27 73 126 9128 sandisiweg@brandsouthafrica.com • CNN’s Richard Quest examines the rise of Africa• Cooperation, trade and education key to Africa’s success – Coleman• Seven reasons to be optimistic about Africa • The dividend of democracy: 20 years of economic growth • Global perceptions key to competitiveness and foreign investment By Shamin ChibbaIf South Africa is to overcome its problem of high youth unemployment, young men and women should look to running their own small businesses – and be taught how to do it from a young age. This was one of the ideas discussed at the CNN-Brand South Africa breakfast forum with CNN anchor Richard Quest, hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg on 13 May 2013.The English-born journalist, who anchors Quest Means Business on CNN International, led a discussion that looked at South Africa’s role in the rest of Africa and in the world.Miller Matola, Brand South Africa’s chief executive, said an environment must be created in which entrepreneurial spirit and culture could thrive, but this would only be possible if entrepreneurship education started at a young age. “I have heard comments that entrepreneurship is something that happens when people are out of work. But I think we need a concerted and focused effort around youth entrepreneurship education.”Part of that education, he said, would be to make young people understand that failure is a part of being an entrepreneur and that perseverance was needed to get through hard times. But, Matola added, support structures would have to be there to ensure failed entrepreneurs did not fall out of the economy. “If you look in the US, a lot of entrepreneurs have failed before, but the system does not necessarily discard them,” he said. “What it does is give them another opportunity. We need to create mechanisms for that.”He said organisations funding entrepreneurs should learn to manage and deal with failed businesspeople. “It’s about how we coach, and mentor, and put back into the system those entrepreneurs – as opposed to discarding them.”When Quest asserted that South Africa had done a poor job of training entrepreneurs, Telkom South Africa chair Jabu Mabuza disagreed. Small enterprises, he said, are helping people survive the economy better than before.Colin Coleman, managing director of Goldman Sachs South Africa, said he encouraged budding entrepreneurs to start businesses as they have the potential to grow. He gave mobile network giant MTN as an example of a thriving South African company that grew from nothing. “Go for it, find your opportunity, find the capital and go build a business, because I think businesses will grow.” Young people’s place in democracyThe day before the forum, Quest was guest host for an hour on Gauteng’s Talk Radio 702. He said he was astonished at the number of young callers to the show who claimed not to have voted in the national elections on 7 May. “I couldn’t understand – especially in a country with a history of recent blood being shed so that people of all colours and races could vote.”But Matola countered that he believed the youth, particularly the “born frees” who only recently reached voting age, were becoming aware of their rights, responsibilities and the role they could play in sustaining the country’s democracy. “If you look at the comments of one of the young people today, the youth are basically crying out to get involved,” he said.Matola was talking about Bonolo Ramokhele, a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers programme, who claimed young South Africans were left out of discussions that would directly affect their future.It was important for the youth to play a part in ensuring they could shape the future of the country, Matola said. “This being the first election for the born frees, one hopes they gleaned insight from this, they learned from this and they really come to an understanding of how they need to exercise their democratic right to shape the future they want for this country.”He suggested that for young South Africans to become more involved, organisers of discussions such as the breakfast forum should ensure there was a panellist representing the youth.last_img read more

Insulating Mechanical Pipes

first_imgSTEP 7: INSULATING MECHANICAL PIPESCode: N1103.3 Mechanical-system piping capableof carrying fluids above 105°F (41°C) or below 55°F (13°C) must be insulated to a minimum of R-3.What it means to you: Although this might clear up an inconsistency between previously stated requirements of 1-in. insulation (which is approximately R-4), it at least raises the required insulation values from R-2 to R-3 as a compromise. Remember, though, that this code focuses on mechanical pipes, which could carry fluids such as glycol, not potable-water pipes.The 2009 building codes reflect practices that not only increase energy efficiency—air-sealing measures and increased insulation, for example—but also address sustainable building practices, such as moisture control.Other segments of this series:Part 1: Air SealingPart 2: InsulationPart 3: LightingPart 4: Programmable ThermostatsPart 5: Insulating Mass WallsPart 6: Efficient WindowsPart 7: Insulating Mechanical PipesPart 8: Exceeding the Energy CodePart 9: Vapor Retarders 9 Steps to A Greener CodeNew homes built using the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC) or International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) will be more energy efficient than ever. As a consequence, a builder’s world may become a bit more complex and, in some cases, a bit more expensive. last_img read more