While President Irfaan Ali’s recent announcement of $2.6B in COVID-19 relief is not catered for in the 2021 budget or previous supplementaries, Senior Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has sought to defend the PPP/C’s latest financial injection as being sustainable and representative of a strong economic stimulus.
The Minister was keen to note that this approach to governance is in stark contrast to that which was offered by the APNU/AFC regime. He said the former government has a well-known track record for punitive taxes which it used to generate more funds which were ironically spent wastefully. Expounding in this regard, Minister Singh said, “We have delivered in one year, far more than they delivered in five years. Consider that what we have done is first, reduce taxes on the things that matter the most to people and secondly, deliver support to people at a level that cumulatively, over the five years that the APNU/AFC was in Government, did not deliver.”

The Senior Finance Minister said the interventions may seem like an immediate $2.6B cost to the treasury but noted that these measures will stimulate more economic activities, provide a boost to various sectors, and even create more jobs.

“When you reduce taxes and reduce the cost of doing business, or when you deliver support to households, that money doesn’t vanish into thin air, it stimulates economic activity. So, by reducing the cost of construction- you stimulate home construction activity, by reducing the cost of mining activities or the cost of agriculture, by removing taxes on heavy equipment, you stimulate economic activity. So, while there may be an immediate or short-term fiscal cost, the real impact is in the stimulation of economic activity,” Minister Singh stated.

Guyana Standard reported yesterday that the three additional COVID-19 measures that will take effect include a one-off cash grant of $25,000 to all old-age pensioners, another one-off grant of $25,000 to all public assistance recipients and persons living with disabilities, and an electricity credit to be paid to the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Company on behalf of households consuming not more than 75-kilowatt hours per month.


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