Customs Bill to be re-tabled following CCJ ruling

Some government Parliamentarians.

[] – The Administration will be re-tabling the disapproved Customs (Amendment) Bill in the National Assembly, in wake of the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in favour of the Surinamese beverage company, Rudisa. Guyana was ordered by the CCJ to pay some $1.2B to the company.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon made this disclosure at his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing at the Office of the President on Thursday, June 05.

 ParliamentIn 2005, CARICOM looked at the environmental tax which is implemented in nine member states, and during that review it was found that six member states including Guyana, were applying the tax on a discriminatory basis.

As a result, last year, the government tabled the Customs (Amendment) Bill, which was voted down by the combined Opposition. The enactment of this legislation would have seen Guyana in compliance with its obligations under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, the CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and the World Trade Organisation.

That Bill sought to amend section 7A, inserted in the Customs Act in 1995 which imposed an Environmental Tax only on taxable goods imported into Guyana.

The HPS spoke of the Opposition’s denial of being responsible for Guyana having lost the legal battle with Rudisa. He maintained that the focus of the Bill was to address the country’s treaty obligations and as such, it should not be confused with other environmental issues

“Cabinet insisted that that cannot be and ought not to be the Bill ought not to be used for any purpose other than to correct the discriminatory nature of tax laws with regards to our obligations under the revised treaty of Chaguaramas.

The Bill will be re-tabled at the next sitting of the House on June 19.



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