THE Opposition is in no position to lecture anyone on the reduction of taxes based on their track record in office. That was the position taken by Vice- president Dr Bharrat Jagdeo in response to proposals by the Opposition on measures to bring relief to citizens.
“I find it very strange that a party that demitted office 18 months ago, that has sought to put taxes on every single area, increased taxes by about $40 billion more on basic food items, on medical supplies, would now have any proposal for [a] budget that seeks to reduce taxes,” the VP said during an interview with the National Communications Network on Friday.
The previous administration through its tax measures had taken disposable income out of the pockets of Guyanese. This could have been seen with the introduction of taxes on education, healthcare, water, and electricity, among other areas that affect the livelihoods of Guyanese.
Since taking office, the PPP/C Administration has removed those taxes, easing the burden placed on them by the previous administration through two successive budgets.
Dr Jagdeo said Budget 2022 which will be presented on Wednesday, January 26, will continue to build on the foundations set by the first two budgets.
“We are looking at tax reduction generally, so you may see adjustments on issues like threshold and all of that, but have looked at the disposable income,” he said.
“And that is why we have made it clear that the PNC should look at all the items that they had put the taxes on and we had to remove. They should annualise it and see what it brings to Guyana and the people of the country,” the VP further added.
The Vice-president said if government had not removed the slew of burdensome taxes imposed by the Coalition, one can only imagine how hard it would have been for Guyanese with the rise in the cost of living globally.
The Opposition also made suggestions on food security, pointing to ways government can do more to invest in agriculture.
However, the actions and words of the Opposition are not coinciding with their claims as during their tenure in office, the Vice-president pointed out that they closed several sugar estates, increased water charges, placed taxes on agricultural machinery and increased the cost for land-lease rentals, which are just a few to mention.
He said the PPP/C Government has a clear plan for agricultural development, as it believes that the non-oil sectors are just as important to Guyana’s development as the oil and gas industry.
Government has since invested billions of dollars in the agricultural sector which also caters for diversifying the sector. The sum of $500 million was invested in the planting of corn and soya bean which has proven to be fruitful.
Added to that, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali is leading and encouraging young people to get involved in agriculture.
With that, the VP said “the person who will peddle that or take that statement and replicate it has to be a person who never looked at APNU’s policy carefully, or is probably new to Guyana.”
The national budget will be presented by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh. (DPI)