‘Adjust, reverse budget measures to benefit Guyanese’ – Jagdeo to Gov’t

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Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo is strongly of the view that Budget 2016 and the measures detailed by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, underscored the “need for a more sensible approach” to be taken towards policy-making, particularly since many of these measures do not see greater benefits being directed to the Guyanese people.

Dr Bharrat Jagdeo speaking to reporters today
Dr Bharrat Jagdeo speaking to reporters today

“When you do these things, they have to make sense. And in that regard, I am calling on President David Granger and his Finance Minister to make changes to several of the measures announced by Minister Jordan,” Dr Jagdeo told a news conference earlier today.

The former President called on the Government to reduce the fuel and electricity prices to reflect the true tumble in oil prices on the global world market.

According to him, “a five per cent rebate in electricity charges is a joke, and why should it be effective until April 1, 2016? Why wait two months?”

Jagdeo said the announcement by itself has absolutely nothing to do with budget. “Will we wait until 2017 if the prices go back up? What we are doing is taking money from ordinary Guyanese people and putting it into the coffers of Government,” he posited.

The Opposition Leader also called on the Government to change the restriction of the importation of used and/or re-conditioned vehicles to under twelve (12) years old – instead of eight (8) years – from the date of manufacture to the date of importation. This will ensure that persons from the lower middle class and the poor, many of whom purchase vehicles on terms, as well as auto dealers, do not suffer the gravity that the announced move will have on their lives and livelihoods.

For example, in speaking to an auto dealer, it was explained that a Toyota Premio costs $2.5M on the local market, and if the new model is to be imported it will cost buyers $3.6M, which is over $1M more than the cost currently.

Dr Jagdeo also called on the coalition Government to “remove totally or change the restriction” of the importation of used and/or re-conditioned heavy duty motorized vehicles, including trucks, canters, etc., to between fifteen (15) and twenty (20) years old – instead of eight (8) years – from the date of manufacture to the date of importation. Many in the construction, mining, rice, forestry and transportation sectors will benefit from such a change, he argued.

Currently, a single axel truck costs between $5M and $6M and the new policy will see that cost increased to as much as $18M. The same applies to double axel vehicles with the cost moving from between $9M and $10M to $27M.

Dr Jagdeo also called on the David Granger-led Government to withdraw the ban on the importation of used tyres.

Instead, Dr Jagdeo suggested expanding the staff and strengthen the regulatory capacity of the Guyana National Bureau of Standards (GNBS) to ensure the quality of the used tyres. According to him, justifying the move as an effort to boost road safety is not completely factual, since most of the accidents on our roadways are caused by drunk driving and speeding.

“I spoke to one owner of a canter and the cost for a tyre is $16,000. The proposed ban will now see him paying $70,000. Imagine the prices for bigger tyres. The prices will be astronomical. A new tyre will now cost about 50 per cent of the minimum wage, which is $50,000,” Dr Jagdeo told reporters.

He said farmers and Amerindians should be exempted from the proposed increase in gun licenses fees, since their livelihoods depend on their possession of firearms.

Dr Jagdeo also called on Government to reduce the announced increases in a raft of licenses by 50 per cent, pointing out that most of the proposed increases see a jump from between 50 and 700 per cent.

The fees to be increased relate to drivers’ licenses, fitness, motorcycles, motor vehicles other than a motorcycle, hire cars, motor busses, good vehicles, articulated vehicles and other vehicles, including motor tractors and trailers and motor hearses.  Also included are application fees, licence fees and renewal fees for hotels, off licence areas, liquor restaurants, spirit shops, members clubs, malt and wine and wine bars. There are several others, which will be increased once the laws are changed – over 130, according to Dr Jagdeo.

He also said that the proposed amendment to the Tax Act to ensure that prior to the issuance of all licenses for public use, the applicant must be compliant with obligations to file annual returns and paid, or has made arrangements to pay all taxes due and payable, should be reconsidered.

“Instead, Government should move in a phased manner by first going after areas where the potential of revenues being recovered are greater. In the meantime, the capacity of the Guyana Revenue Authority should be increased to allow it to be able to respond to the changes being proposed,” the Opposition Leader suggested.

“With government’s proposal, we are looking at an estimate of as much as 70,000 additional persons who will have to access GRA’s service to get certificates of tax compliance. The law currently states that GRA has the jurisdiction over the last seven years. If only 50,000 have never submitted tax returns in the past, they will have to submit now, for the last seven years. That is 350,000 additional tax return documents to be processed. Does GRA have the capacity to handle 70,000 new persons approaching them? Any right thinking person knows that GRA does not have the capacity to do this.  It will create bottlenecks for business, greater corruption and I doubt it will significantly impact on increased revenue collection,” Dr Jagdeo stated.

The former President also called on Government to withdraw the announced move to introduce a broad-based environmental tax, which will place greater burdens on a great number of Guyanese.

“Government has justified to some of these draconian measures as a move to ‘green’ the local economy, in addition to raising additional taxes. We in the PPP/C have always sought to balance the green economy and the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS), with the need to improve people’s lives and not bringing additional burdens on them,” Dr Jagdeo noted.

Alluding to the fact that Government is about creating the environment for citizens to do well, the Opposition Leader said the philosophy of the APNU+AFC Government seems different; “rather than focus on the productive sectors – we saw no help for rice, sugar, mining, bauxite, fishing and forestry – given that these are the sectors that create wealth, we saw a focus on filling the coffers on Government, on the backs of ordinary Guyanese”.

Jagdeo pointed out that the announced measures, related to vehicles, will be a strain on the pockets of ordinary Guyanese in many ways. For example,  these moves are expected to see an increase in the cost of public transportation, among several other negatives of such an undertaking, he said.

“Guyanese will be undeniably hard hit by these measures. What Government is doing is essentially taking wealth from people and putting it into the treasury for Government spending,” the former two-term President and Moscow-trained Economist contended.

“If you follow the trail of the measures announced you will find who they favour. The measures are favourable to a few special interests. The trail leads to both individuals and companies, some with real connections to the APNU+AFC government. In this manner, the Guyanese people are not the ones who are being helped. The Government is definitely not helping the poor. This is not how you expand wealth. It is not how you make a country better,” Dr Jagdeo declared.

Other issues of concern that the former President spoke on at his press conference, include the APNU/AFC  Government’s negotiation of a Wind Power project with an individual who was publicly endorsed as the “personal friend” of a sitting Government Minister; the lack of transparency and procurement reform that makes Government’s actions less transparent, such as increasing limits for awards of public monies that can be made by Ministers, and an increase of spending limits that required a three-quotation compliance, to ensure the lowest price is paid.

Dr Jagdeo also noted that the “slowdown in investments deal secured by GoInvest” was also noted, a reduction from $89B in 2015 to $11B in 2016. This, he said, shows there is no private sector confidence.

The Opposition Leader promised that all of these issues and more will be expounded on during the debates on Budget 2016, which begin next Monday.

 

 

19 COMMENTS

  1. I believe phillip,you and your kind were too damn lazy and blind,not to know that Guyana was and still is,the bread-basket of the Caribbean,FOOD GALORE..If you`re talking about split-peas,we always had better than that.Black-eye,mung,kidney-beans and many more etc.that are more nutricious and grown here in Guyana.I am willing to forgive your ignorance,but where ignorance is BLISS,it`s FOLLY to be WISE.Jagdeo has always been a CUSS-OUT president with a numb-scull mentallity.

  2. If you are a puppet,you will remain a puppet.Do you know that you are exploited when you purchase a used tyre?In the first instance,there is no guarantee how long it will last,and you still have to pay an exhorbitant price for it.Winston Jordan is much more qualified than Jagdeo,as an economist.The most Jagdeo can do,is CUSS OUT.

  3. Jagdeo who are you, only now you know Guyana gat poor people, so now you looking out for the poor. Where were you all these years, you have now awaken from a slumber. Go take a hike.

  4. Well said Philip! The truth and fact is, Jagdeo took Guyana out of poverty. Regardless he may have scam some dollars -The truth remains visible! He has great economic skills that no one in the PNC regime has. Moses and Ramjattan are two failed politician….no leadership skills but was used by the PNC to gain power by splitting the Indian votes. By now I am sure most of the Indians who voted the PNC into power are reeling because they are out of business and out of job. Lets hope that this regime does not peddle enough to kill the economy forcing Guyana into Bankruptcy…or worst…pull a Burhnam and rig elections for the next 30 years….The PNC has no vision for the future of Guyana. The goat dictators only have skills level of a high school child. From the speech Nagamotoo gave in New York three weeks ago in which he could not form a single sentence of English correctly suggests these guys are all dunces. How can they implement anything that will benefit the future of Guyana if they lack the ability? Time will speak for itself….lets hope its not too late….

  5. Dennis McKenzie what about Jagdeo’s vast transformation of Guyana into prosperity? You forget when most Guyanese used to hungry? They used to eat rice flour and the children had beri-beri walking around listlessly with their bow legs and had swollen belly. Many big men and women had white mouth and scurvy and walked around with there screwed up faces and were very untidy. Many men had no bucktah and women patched their panties, the country had no foreign currencies. Many walked for miles to go to work because there were no money to pay trans-p, even though they might just got their salaries. Teary teary and patchy patchy pants was the accepted norm of the society. Big men with wire patched rubber dinkie/slippers walking the streets of GT and begging for a raise when someone comes from a foreign country to supplement their wages and salary just to try and maintain their family. This ever happened to you or any of your family? Well man I can tell you it was very rough in Guyana you see. The country was so poor only second to Haiti.You need to know Guyanese history. I am sure many who pretending don’t like anyone to bring back those memories when there hardly had any electricity. Black out was all over the country, people got accustomed they don’t even used to worry, kerosene flambo was every where, the place used to be so dark it make people scare. To own your own home to most it was impossible. Memories of those to many like it become forgettable. A simple bicycle was very hard to get. Things like that I will never forget. In those days a bicycle was a luxury now today a car becomes a necessity. Hire purchase was difficult to obtained by most of the society, a guarantor had to left their paper of their property as security.Many countries used to laughed but yet showed us sympathy but today Guyana becomes many envy. Those days it was monopoly which right now is history. Chinese one burner stove was for people who had some money, but cooking with wood fire or coal pot was for the vast majority. Those were the days when Guyana was a barrel economy.Families used to send barrels and money from foreign countries.Scarcities and poverty with police brutality and now where to turn was the norm.Through Jagdeo, far a way from that Guyana has been transformed.
    Jagdeo is better/more skillful than all those idiots in APNU government. He moved Guyana out from abstract poverty to a middle income economy. Even though they said that he is corrupt Guyanese life has drastically transformed . Many poor people who could have never known that the could live the way they are living today i.e out of abstract poverty, all because of Jagdeo/PPP/C, they can now have full bellies and even have luxuries whether you are Amerindian, Black, Chinese, Indian, Mixed or Portuguese. It was under Jagdeo/PPP/C people used to live as one people and one nation . Now APNU took over and caused segregation. Many forgot where they came from . It is APNU who is going caused Guyana to go in regression with their greed, bias and intimidation.They lack wisdom and positive vision.

  6. Guyana is a rat race arena, where all the rats running n being smart at the race. Oh and the ABC country deciding who they want to win. Ops no need to go gym or to be educated to a rat race participant, every couple years the ABC country want see new winner whiles they drink expensive wine n monitor the race. ” oh what a rat race”

  7. Well said Oliver. Very good Analysis. I am supporting you 100%. APNU Govt.does not have good analytical skills and thus lack wisdom. With that kind of attitude of the govt. Guyana will always regress.They have no positive vision. Look how they are operating. When they were opposition they opposed all the vital projects and could not give a better alternate solution.Now as Govt. they are embarking on some of the same projects. I would like for the those who don’t know Guyana’s pre1992 socioeconomic history to go and do their research and compare if the citizens of Guyana were better off then or between 1992 and May2015, and where the country will be within the next year.
    APNU Government has a one track mentally.

  8. Damn nonsese , banning of used tires wont decrease accident , we need bettdr roads .. Buying new tires and driving into pot holes will damage tires and waste of money ….

  9. It’s a pity only you understand the slime that comes out of you trench every time you open your DIRTY KOKER,/DK,the opposition leader has some valuable points,the government should recognize his experience and accept his recommendation,

  10. I don`t believe Jagdeo has any authority to lecture to this Coalition government about anything.He had his chances,but messed up BIG TIME.This country and its people should have been better off,but for the alleged corruption and malpractices that caused us great harm and the divisive attitude of the former PPP regime.IT IS TIME for this NEW DISPENSATION to take us to a better life,with a level playing field.I believe,a better lifestyle is before us.This Coalition is leading the way.

  11. After insults and abusing each other, after long days of thinking, I have concluded that there are three main problems with Guyana. On the social side you have racism, on the educational side you have large levels of ignorance and when i say ignorance, i don’t mean illiteracy because the large group of so-called educated people are practically ignorant. And lastly, on the economic side, you have a confusion in direction -Guyana needs to decide; it is either you are capitalist or you are socialist.
    I hear the black people say PPP didn’t do anything for we..is that really true? Yes they did not give hand outs but money was flowing around the economy, anybody could grab it. Yes, i think there were some levels of racism in supporting black business,but more black people made money then than now. The coalition on the other hand believes in making money for the government by taxes mainly which is socialist in nature, an idea I am quite sure would have come from Clive Thomas. However, he might be quick to forget that if the people are not making money in the first place then they can’t pay taxes,which in turn means a decline in growth.yes the coalition is giving hand out but even they know the hand out can’t help either them or the people,it’s like given a man fish instead of teaching him how to fish,you eventually get tired.
    In my far assessment the country is already salary dependent which is another socialist ideology. I was at the sea wall last week Sunday…i had not been there since the new government took over, and it was a clear reflection on the state of the economy – a lot of loud music but nobody was buying anything in fact some people came with there food and drinks,while the vendors were complaining bitterly about sales and somebody tried to defend the government by saying i need to come back during the week salaries are paid. Then i told her you are confirming my point. However, even she forgot that this was the week salaries were paid.
    The people need to wake up, this has nothing to do with politics,i believe even in politics there must be a middle ground and that ground is foreign relations and economics and this two go and in hand.
    The facts are clear…the economy is in a very bad state, and it is not because of global meltdown, that affects only oil producing states…it is rather because of actions and decisions of the government in there first six months,a failure in both foreign policy and economic policy. i as an analyst knows that it would take very good economic minds to get Guyana out of where it is heading in at least three years and that is with political will of the government. But from where i am seating, i dont think that would happen because the Minister of Finance once again is acting with ignorance…he has played his budget into what i call a ‘hole’. The problem with a hole is it just like sinking sand,the more you struggle to get out the more you sink.

  12. Hi frans,this Gov’t was not elected but selected by the ABC countries.The whole of Guyana and the world at large know this.So take note.

  13. looknah you not only sad but you pathetic too coz you drink too much pnc kakaroach oil..granigeh has morality eh..himn going chuch and talking bout unity and you lick it and lap it up eh

  14. Jagdeo, it is sad to see dunces running the country but there is nothing you can do but wait until 2020….Granger is sinking his own ship by not developing the economy. So far the PNC regime has expressed dictatorship, took 9 loans across the ABC countries and re-invested back zero into the economy Crime rate went up by 50% killing tourism while rice and sugar industries perish! Wiki Leak was spot on to label him as Racist! Harmon is the next Hammy Green while coc-eye ramjattan and moses mouth is wide open where the soup is falling. The ABC countries are granting visa to the educated ones, leaving the dunces behind….for these guys to control, loot and collapse the economy into bankruptcy….It is what the USA wants to suck oil out cheap….

  15. the man whom never gave a damn about poor guyanese wants to become the nation’s morality policeman but, this will not get by with any guyanese with his/her head screwed on right. stick to selling snake oil to those whom you believe will grease you back to becoming president.

  16. This is an incompetent Finance Minister. Jagdeo call on Granger will not be heard. This Defacto installed administration will continue to drive our economy into the gutters. Jordan have no sense of economics.In less than one year we are feeling this ripple effects that will only get worse. Guyanese will continue to suffer.

  17. You have no moral authority to tell the elected Govt what to do,you had ur time and your Govt pressured poor people and stole from thr treasury.

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