By Ramona Luthi
As the Budget debates continue in the National Assembly today, scores of persons gathered in front of the Parliament Building protesting against the tax implementations outlined in the Budget 2017 presentations.
Budget 2017 was presented last Monday in the National Assembly by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan.
The protest today also saw the participation of several Opposition, Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), Members of Parliament (MP), including its leader, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.
Jagdeo related to media operatives that he considered Government’s move to be “bad economics,” since the measures that have been proposed in the 2017 Budget spell doom for Guyanese and the outcome by these initiatives will not be in compliance with what the coalition APNU/AFC stated its goals are.
“These measures run contrary to the good life goal and keeping cost of living down, [or] boosting the economy,” Jagdeo asserted, while highlighting that by being creative, a better life can be created without the implementation of the various tax measures.
Among the protesters was PPP Parliamentarian, Dr Vindhiya Persaud.
According to Persaud the budget presentations does not cater for the less fortunate, single parents or children. She reiterated Jagdeo’s claim that the proposals at Budget 2017 are not in line with the Government’s slogan of a “Green Economy.”
During the presentation of the 2017 Budget, it was announced that Value Added Tax (VAT) will be reduced from 16 per cent to 14 per cent. However, Guyanese were shocked after Minister Jordan stated, among other things, that monthly electricity bills over $10,000 as well as water bills over $1,500 a month will see the addition of VAT.
Among the many other tax initiatives presented, Guyanese learned that items which were previously on the Tax Exempt list, such as house hold grocery items [among others] will now be taxed. The same was announced for items on the Zero rated list.
See Carl Croker’s photos of the protest below: