PPP pushes for parliamentary debate on VAT on education

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 19:51 by Denis Chabrol

Former Education Minister Priya Manickchand, has again offered a formal challenge to the application of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on educational material and supplies –as applied by the coalition A Partnership for National Unity, Alliance for Change (APNU-AFC) Government.

The Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament, on Tuesday (April 25, 2017), filed a motion with the National Assembly, which seeks to compel Government to have its Minister of Finance—Winston Jordan—take immediate steps to revoke imposing VAT on Education goods and services and to reinstate what had obtained prior.

Manickchand, who served as Education Minister under the now ousted PPP administration, says the impact of the onerous budgetary measures have caused great consternation and anxiety for parents and students about, the future of students’ right to access to education of their choice, including private education, as provided for in the constitution.

In challenging the VAT Order, the former Minister has also pointed out that more than 14,000 persons have already petitioned the President calling for the removal of VAT on education goods and services.

The former Education Minister argues that the motion is in part triggered by contradictory public statements on this issue emanating from government officials compounded by the fact Cabinet announced that it would not review its position.

Manickchand in her motion also seeks to draw reference to the fact, “over the last three months, stakeholders have organised and continue to hold protests against this onerous budgetary measure and have remained steadfast in their demand for the revocation of the VAT on Education goods and services.”

The Order by the Minister of Finance was made under the Value Added Tax Act and came into effect on February 1, 2017 last.

The move by Manickchand comes on the heels of a failed bid in the House when the PPP had initially moved to have the National Assembly force Minister Jordan to reinstate and bring back into force the Schedules that had existed prior to new VAT Order.

Manickchand’s motion has been seconded by former Junior Finance Minister, Juan Edghill.