Vice President, Bharrat Jagdeo is denying claims made by the APNU+AFC Opposition that Budget 2020 was crafted to solely benefit the Private Sector.
The Vice President, during an interview with the Department of Public Information on Wednesday, described the Opposition’s contribution during the Budget 2020 debates as nothing more than a “political gaff.”
He said the Government recognised that while the economy grew in the oil sector, every other sector plummeted and was in deficit. The sectors that plummeted, he said, were those that generate jobs for Guyanese. This, coupled with the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, resulted in more persons losing their jobs.
“So, a key part of the Budget had to be giving stimulus to those areas to ensure that we resume activities in mining, accommodations, forestry, agriculture and fishery so more of our people could be employed,” the Vice President said.
Jagdeo noted that employment was vital to a country’s stability and wellbeing.
“Saying this is a Private Sector budget without understanding why you need to stimulate the Private Sector, the sectors of our economy that create jobs, is a bit disingenuous,” he said.
The Vice President added that measures such as the removal of corporate tax on health and education, the removal of value-added tax (VAT) on medical supplies, the $15,000 cash grant for students and doubling of the school uniform allowance will put more money in the pockets of Guyanese.
The Budget also includes provisions for the increase in pension and free water for pensioners, and the removal of VAT on water and electricity.
“Every cent spent…benefits all of our people regardless of where you live. We have no apology for removing taxes on machinery and equipment. People do not eat machinery and equipment… when you brought in the bulldozer under APNU, you had to pay over $5M in taxes now it is back to zero,” the Vice President asserted.
However, he stated that while the 2020 Budget is $329.5 billion, a large part of it has already been spent by the Coalition Government.