Last Updated on Friday, 2 December 2016, 14:00 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo on Friday shifted blame from Finance Minister, Winston Jordan to President David Granger for an “offensive” budget and offered to meet with government to remove the bulk of taxes on the backs of Guyanese.
“We are prepared, if such a process is initiated, we are willing to collaborate with the government to share our ideas to grow Guyana, create incentives and enhancing welfare for Guyanese without implementing these draconian measures,” he told a news conference.
Jagdeo called on the Guyanese leader to withdraw the GYD$250 billion budget or examine wide ranging concerns about the “offensive, oppressive measures” that he forecast would “devastate the lives of many poor people and will cause the productive sector to regress.”
President Granger, he said, should summon his cabinet to listen to all of the concerns and “strike out all of these offensive policies that will harm all the people of this country and it will destroy our productive sector.”
He flayed government for introducing taxes on Internet data, saying that it flies in the face of government’s own ICT and knowledge-driven economy strategy. Jagdeo also took issue with the introduction of a 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on water and electricity as well as private education and health services.
The Opposition Leader said government was taking money out of the pockets of Guyanese to fund its Green Economy Plan to build water treatment plants, buy electric charging stations for vehicles and reducing taxes on hybrid energy vehicles. He said the 10 percent Environmental Tax would be passed on to consumers. “It has become a revenue generating measure on the backs of Guyanese people,” he said.
Jagdeo reiterated concerns about plans by the Guyana Revenue Authority to block VAT debtors from leaving Guyana and garnishment of bank accounts of persons who owe taxes. The Opposition Leader said he was inclined to support the idea of garnishment only if there is a court ruling.