The Government of Guyana (GoG) has announced sweeping changes to the tax regime in the country. Coupled with direct incentives, these changes will see Guyanese benefitting from a total of $20B for the remainder of the year. This was according to the Vice-President of Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo.
He made this comment after President, Dr Irfaan Ali, announced several changes to the applicability of Value-Added Tax (VAT). He said that electricity, water, cellphones, machinery for the extractive and agricultural industries – to name a few – will not attract VAT.
Also, the disbursement of COVID-19 relief, school and uniform allowance, two-week bonus for the Disciplined Forces will all be geared at putting money ‘back into the hands of people’.
“If you look at the measures in the new budget and a combination of direct incentives and a reduction of taxes, the Guyanese public will benefit over $20Billion of relief,” Jagdeo said during a press conference at Arthur Chung Conference Centre.
“Although an emergency budget, we have substantively addressed most of the tax measures that we promised to deal with in the new Government,” the Vice President continued.
These promises were crafted in the manifesto during the run up to the 2020 elections. Now in office, the Vice President added that the Government is on a path to fulfil those promises.
“We do not take our promises lightly and therefore I am so pleased that we have been able to within a month of the new government, move to address a lot of these issues,” he said.
While touting Government’s economic policy that is described as one that is coherent, the Vice President lambasted the economic policy of the former administration that led to extravagance.
According to the Vice President, “it was a policy based on consumption, collection of large amounts of taxes and consumption on the recurrent side of the budget […] Employment costs skyrocketed and other charges skyrocketed and these were not creating value for people.”
With the new tax measures, the Vice President cited his confidence that more disposable income will be available to Guyanese as cost of living will now be reduced.