Gov’t moves to tighten Re-migrant Scheme

Last Updated on Friday, 26 February 2016, 18:21 by Denis Chabrol

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan

Minister of Finance Winston Jordan

The APNU+AFC administration has taken steps to clog certain holes that have been identified in the Re-migrant Scheme administered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The Customs Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the House on Friday with the support of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) paving the way for a new slew of regulations to be implemented.

Jordan in presenting the Bill to the House stated that indeed the Scheme started off well, but it has recently found itself in some trouble.

“In the early days it worked really well but as of late some kinks have been thrown up,” said Jordan.

He pointed out that most of the issued have to do with the undefined entitlement of re-migrants.

“Because of a system that is lax…some problems have arisen…So what we are seeking here in this amendment is to define who is a Re-migrant and what kind of vehicle and what would happen if certain violations occur,” said the Finance Minister.

Under the new law, Re-migrants must live in Guyana for at least 183 days after applying for re-migrant status before leaving the country. Jordan explained that this is not a new provision but it is now being solidified in the framework of the constitution.

Jordan also pointed out that re-migrants wishing to import vehicles without paying duties must do so within six months of resuming residency in Guyana.

Even so, those persons would have to be living in Guyana for three years if they are importing a used vehicle and five years if the vehicle being imported is new.

Similarly, persons cannot import vehicles that are more than 8 years old – which is in keeping with a recent policy announced by the Government.

Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall rose to speak on the Bill and offered the support of the PPP for the amendments.

“The re-migrants scheme as noble as the intent of that scheme may be it has been the subject of misuse, abuse,” said Nandlall adding that it “is a good measure, it is a good attempt by the government to block the holes that have been identified in the system.” (Jomo Brusheildon Paul)