Budget is for “big business”; cut wastage and pay ordinary Guyanese more- APNU+AFC’s Walton-Desir

Last Updated on Tuesday, 1 February 2022, 8:02 by Denis Chabrol

APNU+AFC’s Amanza Walton-Desir

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) frontbencher, Amanza Walton-Desir on Monday slammed the 2022 National Budget, saying that the tax breaks and relief measures would only favour large private sector businesses.

“The truth is that by and large those measures are geared towards favouring big business,” she said, adding that the evidence shows that trickle-down economics to the poor and working class does not work.

Ms. Walton-Desir , in criticising the GY$25 billion worth of relief measures, reflected that last year the Guyana government reduced the freight cost component of the Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) for cargo but the ordinary consumers did not see lower prices. “We had the highest office holder in this land begging the private sector to pass the savings on,” she said.

The APNU+AFC calculated that the tax breaks amounted to GY$6 billion to make out her case said Guyana was losing billions to manipulation at the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board.

She said if the Irfaan Ali-led government takes steps to cut wastage of GY$89 billion by 50 percent and take GY$36 billion and pay the 50,000 government employees a 10 percent salary increase, provide free tuition to 11,000 university students, a $250,000 bonus to 9,000 health workers, increase the income tax exemption by GY$100,000, increase the old-age pension to $35,000 for the 65,000 pensioners, allocate GY$3.5 billion to technical and vocational education training, provide GY$2 billion in grants to 2,000 qualified small businesses, and $1.3 billion to upskill sugar workers instead of keeping them “tied and tethered” to a failing industry. “Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, the difference this will make to the lives of ordinary Guyanese but show me where you put your money and I will tell you what you value and what your values are,” she said.

All of the private sector organisations have welcomed the 2022 National Budget, and while a number of them have acknowledged that they have not gotten all their demands, they have not provided any details.