by Zena Henry
President David Granger has promised that his government will ensure for this year, the Value Added Tax (VAT), National Insurance contributions and income tax rates will not be increased. He is adamant that promises of certain reductions within the 100 days in office still stands.
The President during his address to Parliament at its recent reopening Wednesday June 10 said that, “We shall ensure that there will be no increases in income tax rates, VAT or National Insurance contributions for this financial year.”
He added that there will be however, “moderate increases in salaries paid to public servants and pensions paid to seniors.” Touting greater access to finance and capital for the ordinary citizen seeking economic sovereignty, “Your government will ensure as general rule people, whoever they are people who are paid only the national minimum wage will not required to pay income tax.”
Adding to the President’s utterances, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said that VAT and reduction in the Berbice Bridge toll and other taxes as part of the 100 day program “is actively being considered in Cabinet.” Harmon noted however, the Cabinet has reached a point in the conversations where they can say definitely what is going to happen.
He mentioned however, “We already have a review and Cabinet has asked another set of experts to look at the figures with a view of reducing the (Berbice bridge) toll.” “So we have a commitment that in the first 100 days this is one of the things we will do, and we actually working to get that done.”
The Berbice Bridge toll is being seen as a burden to the Guyanese people with hefty fees having to be paid to use the facility. Outside of that, the government, while in opposition was never satisfied with the scarcity of information the then government was providing on the infrastructure, especially when billions were said to have been used form the ailing NIS to finance the structure.
On the other hand, Harmon pointed out that the President has already given the National Assembly an assignment to ensure that the VAT is reduced. The President told the nation also that his government will “introduce amendments to appropriate laws to reform taxation… giving income tax concessions to wage earners, and to offer fiscal incentives on an equitable basis to investors.