Finance Minister Winston Jordan is urging Guyanese consumers to be careful when they are purchasing basic items so as to ensure they are not conned by “rapacious” businesses who would want to charge more on items that attract Value Added Tax (VAT).
At a recent engagement with local media corps, the minister said that in an environment where every dollar saved is a dollar gained, consumers have to be far more conscious with all playing their part in making sure that “these rapacious businesses are either shunned or sidetracked”.
Jordan said while the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Finance have the responsibility of providing information on vatable and non- vatable items, other similar agencies have such responsibility.
“You have to admit this is not an issue only for GRA and the Ministry of Finance, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) who says that their members are good folks, the Chambers of Commerce and the Consumer Association, Ministry of business and other stakeholders to make people more aware. And clearly for the buyer. Buyer beware,” he cautioned.
When he made his presentation last year, Jordan had projected a rise in VAT collection of 1.7 per cent, amounting to $36 billion.
The Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) has, however, long denounced the Government’s method of taxing its way to wealth generation. Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, PPP/Civic Member Irfaan Ali has maintained that the expanded areas of taxation would increase the burden on Guyanese and local businesses.
Ali had observed that in relation to pharmaceutical and medical supplies, the cost of accessing private medical service would increase dramatically. But that’s not all. He had expressed that private medical staff such as nurses, medics, laboratory technicians and others may face the risk of losing their jobs, since patients would now be forced to seek medical service from public hospitals owing to prohibitive costs.