Minister of Business, Dominic Gaskin, said the 2018 National Budget is a “good-natured budget” that benefits the ordinary man and woman.
Minister Gaskin, speaking during today’s start of the budget debates in the National Assembly, stressed that measures in the 2018 budget “are all clear commitments to the man in the street, and the woman in the street who are looking to enjoy their share in the good life.”
The Minister explained that the personal income tax measures allow persons who are laid off and unable to find a job, to recover taxes they paid from the previous year. Budget 2018 proposes that the minimum personal allowance of $720,000 be given in full regardless of whether a person works for the entire year or a part of the year.
“This measure speaks to the ordinary man, woman, worker and lets them know our government is fair and considerate and wants the best for them,” Minister Gaskin noted.
Additionally, the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on low-cost housing units below $6.5M is a measure targetted to young people and ordinary working persons to ensure they can become homeowners, Minister Gaskin pointed out.
Other measures such as concessions to employers who provide day care services and amnesty to all delinquent tax payers are all indications that budget 2018 is “a people focused budget.”
Minister Gaskin noted these measures clearly disproves the claim by Opposition Member of Parliament Ifraan Ali that there is “nothing in budget 2018 for the ordinary man”. Minister Gaskin and MP Ali opened the budget debates.
BUDGET DEVOID OF MEASURES TO RESCUE AILING ECONOMY
At the start of the 2018 budget debates this morning, People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Parliamentarian, Ifaan Ali was blunt in his assessment that the budget is devoid of measures to rescue Guyana’s ailing economy and improve the well being for its people.
According to Ali, the responsibilities of moving the economy forward and expanding it, in addition to creating opportunities, and jobs as well as improving the livelihood of the Guyanese people, rests squarely with the elective Government through their policies and measures.
The Parliamentarian and Former Minister asserted that the 2018 budget provides no comfort for parents, especially single mothers as they are denied the $10,000 cash grant among other debts.
Moreover, he lamented that the Budget does nothing for pensioners who are paying more than $1.5B as a result of the removal of water and electricity subsidies. This is as Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan during his Budget Presentations, disclosed a meagre $500 increase for pensioners.
The Former Minister told the House that the proposed measures does nothing for private citizens and businesses who have been forced to pay $32.2B more in taxes over the last three years as a result of new measures – taxation measures and fees – implemented by the current administration.
He further noted that again, the Budget does not provide any assistance to the tens of thousands of workers displaced from the Sugar, Forestry and Construction sectors.
“Budget 2018 does not address the upsurge in violent crimes,” he exclaimed in the National Assembly while adding that it did not even announce a single measure for infants who are now exposed to diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus (DPT), yellow fever, polio and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG).
“Nothing for these infants, these children, in budget 2018.’
The Parliamentarian also pointed out that the Budget has nothing to offer farmers, nurses, teachers, public servants, police men and women and army officers.
“Budget 2018 brings no relief for the 61% category of businesses affected by none performing loans, not a single initiative, not a single measure to help those businesses, budget 2018 is devoid of any measure to help the people in any category in this economy,” he asserted. (Ramona Luthi)