Guyana finance minister promises no new taxes in 2017-18 budget
GEORGETOWN – The Guyana government will present the 2017-18 national budget to the National Assembly on November 27 with finance Minister Winston Jordon indicating that there would be no new taxes in the fiscal package.
“Our focus in the budget now is to make people their own boss so we are increasingly putting more and more resources that aim to increase the skill pool and in many ways offering you some assistance,” Jordan told a news conference.
He said that when the government increased takes by a small margin last year there had been much criticism from the opposition and other interest groups. He said the government’s Sustainable Livelihood Programme, provides GUY‘$100 million in outright grants
Jordan said the David Granger administration said would be seeking to fulfil outstanding promises including a review of the value added tax (VAT) on private education and the construction of the East Bank Berbice Road.
Jordan said the fiscal package would be about “cleaning up or providing incentives to key sectors that need support,” identifying the forestry sector as one of those sectors.
He said that national consultations were continuing in preparation of the budget.
“We have met a good group of professionals including young entrepreneurs, wide selection of youths from various regions, generally the consultations have been positive, none of them have been acrimonious,” he added.
Jordan said the government would continue to look for ways to stimulate the economy, reminding reporters that it had already reduced taxes and ramped up salaries and bonuses to public servants.
He said efforts at getting Guyanese nationals into creating their own businesses were not an easy task since many people continue to approach government for jobs.
“Even the best of governments tried going into economic activity and for the most part it has failed; the latest is GUYSUCO (Guyana Sugar Corporation) and I always say that the one that has kept us going is Guyoil.”
Guyoil was established in the 1960’s by the then Cheddi Jagan administration.
But he maintained that “we want to create conditions for particularly small businesses to grow and you don’t have to knock up a shed to get a small business and I see someone scornfully talk about the lady with the plantain chip as if selling plantain chip is a beneath activity”.
Last year, the government presented a GUY$250 billion budget to Parliament. (CMC)