…Government creating a billion-dollar industry for itself- Opposition
Motor vehicle users will now be saddled with additional financial burdens, with some processing fees skyrocketing by over 100 per cent while in some cases, new charges have been introduced.
The Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Amendment Bill 2016 was up for debate on Thursday at the first sitting of the National Assembly for the year.
The amendment, which is part of a list of measures that will bring the provisions of the National Budget 2017 into full effect, was subsequently approved by the Government Parliamentarians amidst strong objections from the Opposition Members of Parliament (MP’s).
The Bill provides for the abolishment of the requirement for a Certificate of Compliance from the Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for the processing of a transfer of registration of motor vehicles.
This measure was praised by Opposition MP’s who noted that the removal of this condition eliminates the red tape in getting transactions completed at the GRA.
However, the Bill provides for the increase in fees for the transfer of motor vehicles and the introduction of charges for the issuance of drivers’ permits and for letters of authenticity.
To transfer ownership and/possession of a motor cycle, applicants will now have to pay $5000 as opposed to the previous $500.
To transfer ownership of vehicles outside that category, applicants will now have to pay $25,000 instead of the previous $1000, or two per cent of the selling price of current valuation; whichever is greater.
The Bill also introduced fees for the issuance of driving permits issued to licensed drivers residing abroad and introducing fees for issuance for letters of authenticity for applicants requiring verification of their drivers’ licence. These transactions will now cost $2000 each.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan supported these measures, noting that it is a “win-win” situation and that the common man will favour these changes.
“To me, if you go ask the average common man whether he is in favour of this Bill, I am sure if he were be able to represent himself here, rather than have representatives of him here, he will tell us differently,” the Finance Minister expressed in response to the slew of criticisms from the Opposition benches regarding these amendments.
Opposition Parliamentarian Nigel Dharamlall said these developments send a “bad omen” for motor vehicle users of the country and he accused the government of creating a billion-dollar industry for itself at the expense of taxpayers.
Dharamlall outlined that with the number of fees increases and introductions since the Administration’s inception 19 months ago, they have raked in billions of dollars from Guyanese.
He noted that it is unfortunate that Government’s concept of generating revenues is to rely solely on taxing the population.
“This speaks to the lack of economic planning within this Government for this country. It speaks of elements of gross incompetence on behalf of the Administration. I also think that with this additional hardship measure that this Government is alienating itself from the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable and that is an unfortunate circumstance before us,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Opposition Member of Parliament Adrian Anamayyah in his contribution to the debate, pointed out that the average disposable income continues to be significantly reduced by the onerous burdens being imposed by the Government.
Aside from those amendments, motor vehicle users will also be burdened with higher maintenance cost with the ban on used tyres, and with the advent of parking meters across the city. (Guyana Times)