Santokhi promises better life, because ‘this is our Suriname’

(StarNiews) “This coalition has now been given the responsibility to rebuild the country. It will not be easy, without money, with weak government and sky-high debt. But as difficult as it will be, we are going to rebuild the country, because this is our Suriname. ” President Chan Santokhi promised the Surinamese people a better life in his inaugural speech.

“We must convert the confidence we have in the future into action and results. Everyone can contribute.” With the promise of better times for Suriname, the new president has also outlined the reality of an empty treasury, a scarcity of foreign currency and sky-high debts. “Institutions that are important for good governance and for the income of the state are weakened. The central bank, the tax authorities, customs and even many ministries are not functioning adequately. The bad financial situation has been repeatedly confirmed by rating agencies in recent years: our country has been systematically downgraded.

Assuming a realistic rate, debts are estimated at more than SRD 50 billion. Santokhi expects to find a bigger financial gap with his new government team when they go to work. “The exact depth of this is not yet known to us.” Above all problems there are the coronavirus pandemic and the moral crisis. “

Santokhi was congratulated and presented with the presidential sash by his predecessor Desi Bouterse
Santokhi was congratulated and presented with the presidential sash by his predecessor Desi Bouterse

The head of state says that despite the severe crisis, he is convinced it will be resolved. Unanimity is important here. He announces that public finances and the macro-economy will be restored. A program of stabilization, recovery and growth is coming. Support from international financing organizations is necessary for this. In that context, talks are held with the creditors, so that Suriname can meet its obligations and at the same time be given financial room to govern.

“The civil service will have to be different, more efficient and, above all, more productive. We are going to offer new opportunities to our civil servants. We will train them for the many new companies and sectors we envision,” Santokhi gives a glimpse of the road ahead merged with the log government apparatus. New opportunities are emerging that are much better paid than the government, he says. Furthermore, parts of the government will become independent to meet the set objectives.

There is also room for social dialogue. The head of state indicates that only by good cooperation between government, unions and employers can the problem of civil service be successfully solved. The dialogue between government, business, trade unions and social groups will improve.

Reassuring foreign currency holders, Santokhi promises to get the assurance that their funds are safe. “We want everyone to be able to put their money safely back at the banks in Suriname.” In connection with this, he also announces restoration of the independence of the Central Bank of Suriname. Santokhi points out to society that with an empty state treasury and a broken government system, the development of the city, district and interior does not start. “That is why we must first take measures and ask for sacrifices to walk the difficult path together.”

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