Budget 2018 will foster better working conditions, a conducive business environment and job opportunities and that will provide an avenue for young entrepreneurs who want to invest in ‘Green State’ development plans. This pronouncement was made by State Minister, Joseph Harmon, following the presentation of the 2018 National Budget by Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan in the National Assembly on Monday.
“Most importantly, there are no new taxes in this budget, in fact there are benefits for so many categories of persons that they will only see good in this budget. I believe that the Minister has done an excellent review of the state of the economy, the state of the world economy and actually places us in a situation where we can position ourselves in the world and see how we proceed from there”, Minister Harmon noted.
Speaking directly to the citizens, the State Minister said the 2018 budget represents an important step in the development of the country, noting that the measures included places Guyana further along the path to the “good life” for all.
Similar sentiments were expressed by other Government Ministers, including Minister of Social Protection, Amna Ally, who noted the budget offers a lot in terms of infrastructural improvements, educational advancement and more.
Minister Ally said that, “I am very happy that in the budget that they are taking care of building a Drop-in Centre …that is a very important replacement for us, apart from that the sensitisation and awareness programmes that we are having in my ministry, looking at the curbing of domestic violence… and so on. So, I think the budget has quite a lot contained in it, and it is going to be good for Guyana.”
Further, Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes lauded the budget as a good one, despite the challenges. She noted that, “People forget that within the first two years we had given something like $32B into the sugar sector, so we know that funds are limited, so I think it is a very ingenious way to use what we have to make the best available to as many people as possible.”
Minister Hughes made reference to the innovation and focus in several areas, for example Day Care and Childcare facilities being able to claim for tax benefits, and the pensioners receiving an added incentive. She noted that while many people may believe that the increase of $500 to the pension, may be little, over the past two years it has increased by 49 percent.
Natural Resources Minister, Raphael Trotman, said too that he is pleased with the allocation to his sector and expressed the view that stakeholders will also be satisfied, since there were extensive consultations with these individuals and efforts made to meet their expectations.
“In the area of forestry money has been set aside for what is known as a stock yard, where logs can be processed. We also will be doing an inventory of what forest species we have and what quantities, and we are raising the tariffs on pinewood to allow the local loggers to have a greater stake on the market”, the Minister noted.
Trotman also pointed out that the attributors tax which was raised from 10 to 20 percent last year, has been reversed, which will be a positive for the mining sector. He said that, “It is not easy for a Government to reverse a policy and this has been quite remarkable. I am ecstatic and generally I believe that the budget is a good mid-term budget, it is not meant to excite, it is meant to stabilise.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, Sydney Allicock said Budget 2018 places the Hinterland, specifically Indigenous communities is a better preparatory position for the impending development in the extractive sectors.
Indigenous Peoples, Minister Allicock, noted will be in a state of readiness for when the solar farms, hydro development and the linking roads are established. “For the Hinterland, especially Region Nine [Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo] it is the gateway for bigger things to happen…I am very pleased that the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs has gotten a budget that will start the whole process of the involvement of the Hinterland people in the development of this nation”, he noted. (DPI)