Finance Minister promises Tax Reform committee “soon”

Finance Minister, Winston Jordan
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan
Finance Minister, Winston Jordan

[] – Finance Minister Winston Jordan says the APNU+AFC government will remain steadfast to its 100 day plan, pointing out that a tax reform committee will soon be convened to review Guyana’s tax regime.

During a recent interview, the minister said, “The 100-day agenda that talks to the review of VAT, etc, those are attracting immediate attention. Within the 100 days we are expected to put together a tax reform committee that is expected to look in a more long- term way about taxes in general”.

He said he does not favour ad-hoc approaches to taxation, “particularly if you do not have the benefit of a study to know what would happen if you do x, or you do y, but I agree with the public, you should clamour to pay low taxes. Citizen Jordan will be clamouring for low taxes, but Minister Jordan is a different story, and every time somebody makes a demand for reduction and has all the right reasons, you have to know what the reduction will result in, in actually loss of revenue, or gain in revenue.”

Jordan indicated that there are 150 items that are presently exempted from Value Added Tax (VAT).

“There are little that is left that could attract further zero rate, so it makes for good appeal, so when you look and see there is almost nothing left, to entertain further reduction is to narrow the tax base.”

It was pointed out that a reduction in some areas could result in an increased tax rate, but already there’s a call for the reduction in the rate. “Now when you look at it on two sides there’s a clamour on the revenue side to reduce, effectively reducing revenues. There’s a clamour on the expenditure side to effectively increase wages.”

This increase, Minister Jordan said would effectively increase expenditure. As minister in the “hot seat” he said that he has to look at all of these factors and ensure there is “a judicious mix”.

He explained, “You’re not going to please all the people on the expenditure side, and you’re not going to please all the people on the revenue side who are asking for the decline. What you’re hoping for is a balance and you’re hoping that it will net out at the end of the day.” [Extracted and modified from GINA]




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