THE business community has expressed concerns about the persistent “bottle necks” when doing business with the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), and is also calling on the revenue body to expand its taxpayer’s bracket and focus on those individuals who have been evading taxes for too long.
According to a release, with these concerns in mind, Minister of Finance Winston Jordan was written to and meetings were held with the top brass of the GRA and the Private Sector Commission (PSC).
The Commission also met with the business community about two weeks ago to discuss the recent perceived downturn in business.
The discussion dealt with matters of employee retrenchment to the sudden increase in crime, spending on Government projects and matters related to how the clearing of goods and the processing of investment agreements are affecting the business community.
According to business representatives, they have noticed a drop in consumer spending and expectations. Projects are being delayed/suspended due to the cessation of payments on some projects while foreign and local business partners have put a hold on some investments.
“The PSC is concerned that the current situation can lead to a high level of non-performing loans and is extremely concerned about the intended removal of over 60 billion in Government funds that are deposited at the commercial banks. There is an increased level of defaulting loans being recorded in some sectors of the economy,” the PSC said.
The Commission is of the opinion that once there is a decline in consumer expectations and spending, it can create a drop in sales and profits, the release stated.
This concern would force businesses to freeze on hiring and inevitably the retrenchment of employees; some businesses have already started laying-off, the Commission said.
The PSC said while it commends the actions taken by the Government and the Guyana Police Force in making some arrests and the solving of recent crimes, it is of the belief that more should be done to prevent and detect crimes and restore the confidence in the law enforcement.
STRONGER POLICE PRESENCE
The Commission also called for stronger police presence in and around the city, noting that businesses are concerned about their employees and customers being robbed in the streets and at their homes.
“The PSC has recognised that the economy has taken a downturn since 2014, but the present administration has an opportunity to restore this confidence by releasing a budget that would stimulate spending and has in fact said this to the Government of Guyana through the Minister of Finance with whom we met some time ago. We are of the opinion that this will cause businesses to re-invest in projects, which may allow Commercial Banks to increase their loan portfolio; thus injecting needed funds into the economy.
“Additionally, the Government needs to ensure the efficiency of GRA and to restart spending through issuance on contracts, etc,” the release concluded.