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Bailout for high cost living; income tax to be lowered

Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 January 2022, 22:34 by Denis Chabrol

President Irfaan Ali

President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday , one day ahead of the 2022 National Budget presentation, announced that government  has set aside money to cushion the impact of  rising cost of living but indicated that it would not be unconditional cash grants.

“A specific sizeable allocation will be made to address the issue of cost of living,” he said, adding that government would continue to take steps to reduce the cost of fuel, freight, and the borrowing for home-ownership. He said the budget would include measures for school children, vulnerable, the elderly and dialysis patients.

He stopped short of saying that the money would not be distributed across Guyana as yet another unconditional cash grant but this time around would be based on assessments. “This sizeable allocation will be used through consultation with communities across the country to identify specific ways and initiatives in which we can deploy this budgeted allocation to ease the burden on the population,” he said.

He hinted that Pay As You Earn (PAYE) could be slashed. “I have also advised the Minister of Finance to look at the personal income tax of taxpayers and to make the necessary adjustment in keeping with the budgetary framework and the affordability of the country at this moment,” he said.

The President ruled out an increase in taxes in the 2022 Budget. “Notwithstanding what is happening globally , notwithstanding rising inflation globally, the empty shelves, the increase in fuel costs, the imported inflation, I have made it very clear to the Minister of Finance that we will not in any way introduce any new burden or taxes on the Guyanese people and we will make the investment to ensure that we keep the cost of energy and fuel stable,” he said,

Dr Ali signaled that taxes would be reduced on double cab pickups and new trucks or those less than four years old would be reduced.

According to the President, government was examining ways of reducing the cost of medical and life insurance by finding ways of “netting off so that more people can have less costly and affordable” such insurances and at the same time stimulate savings in the bank.