The Bartica Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has now voiced its position- adding to the growing list of many other stakeholders and bodies calling for a review of the Budget – on some of the repressive measures outlined in Budget 2017 which according to the Chambers will kill the poor and further stagnate businesses.
See full statement below:
In light of the recent 2017 budget announcement by the finance Minister, Winston Jordan, of a possible attraction of 14% Value Added Tax on water and electricity respectively,(two basic human needs) the Bartica Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) urges the government to rethink the decision and make a conscious decision to review the 2017 budget with haste.
The Finance Minister must be commended for an early budget and a promise to have the 16% VAT reduced to 14% however more questions than answers remain.
BCCI views the 2017 budget as a “monster” budget and believes that a fully loaded cart was put before the horse.
BCCI demands justification from the government for the poor decision of the proposed implementation of 14% VAT on Water and electricity.
Bartica’s economy remains in a coma due to falling gold prices and presently residents and business alike are experiencing financial hardships as Barticians depend solely on mining.
The business community is experiencing a slowdown in business. No economic activity is taking place now and with the recent announcement of a possible 14% VAT attraction on water and electricity can only be seen as the government and the merchants attending the funeral of the poor.
The measures outlined in the budget will affect the ordinary man and businesses in Bartica as the merchants will pass on the necessary increases to the poor.
The hospitality and food industry in Bartica will be greatly affected by the proposed 14% VAT.
The living standards of residents of Bartica will be greatly interrupted as the masses of the 15000 population pays each month more than $10000 and $1500 respectively on water and electricity bills and will now be forced to make electrical appliances in the homes ornaments. For example, if one has a microwave, iron or fan they will avoid using these household comforts out of fear of a monstrous light bill exceeding $10,000 per month. On the other hand, for those residents who do not yet own a microwave, iron or fan they will now think twice about purchasing same.
Restriction on used tyres
The BCCI urges the government to consider exempting miners from the ban of used tyres as we view the implementation of the usage of new tyres to also mean new, up kept and standard roads.
Miners using ATV’s, cruisers and trucks will no doubt feel the squeeze of maintaining their vehicles. With new tyres on vehicles and bad and unacceptable conditions of roads leading into the interior, the cost of transporting goods and services into the interior will skyrocket.
Not forgetting too that taxi fares and public transportation cost will also increase. Where does that leave the poor?
The hopes of the poor and entrepreneurs of elevating their economic status and standards of living have been shattered by the announcement of a possible proposed 14% VAT on water and electricity.