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No payment for tax review committee -Finance Minister

The headquarters of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Camp Street, Georgetown.

The Ministry of Finance has not allocated specific funds to facilitate the work of the important Tax Review Committee which is to provide feedback on the country’s current tax state before any action could be taken to reform it.

This is according to Finance Minister Winston Jordan who told Demerara Waves Tuesday August 25 that the committee will be using the resources of the ministry.  Jordan said, “We have not set side anything because they are going to use the resources of the Ministry of the Finance.”

He said that the ministry will be providing office space, support services, secretarial and everything that the committee members would need. He said that these persons will not be receiving a salary. “We haven’t even determined an honorarium for them; they are not working for a salary.”

That is unlike the members of government’s steering committee on Constitutional Reform who are to each receive a monthly stipend of GUY$100,000 from September 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015.

The Tax Reform Committee will act as a “pre-qualification” agency to provide framework information for the substantive work that must be done to address the tax reform issue.

During his budget debate speech last week, Jordan told the House that the tax committee had been convened and is expected to continue their work for the next four months, “to produce an interim report on both the tax system and tax administration.”

The committee’s chairman is Economist, Dr. Maurice Odle. The other members are Dr. Thomas Singh, a University of Guyana lecturer, prominent accountant Christopher Ram, Godfrey Statia, former GTT Deputy CEO.

The government  had promised to reduce Value Added Tax (VAT) during their first 100 days in office, but did not follow though in the manner expected. Jordan said that was because the tax system needed a review before the VAT could be reduced. Jordan said that government is set to lose GUY$1b because while they did not lower the VAT, they did remove the VAT on several basic food items.