The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) is the latest body to publicly condemn Government’s move to impose 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition fees.
According to FITUG, VAT on education, “given Government’s stated emphasis on education is certainly an unwise and clearly an unpopular decision.” A decision that the Union is arguing should be reconsidered “in light of the multiple tax measures which are to be borne by the people and the effects it has on the living standards of our working-people.”
See FITUG’s full statement below:
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) as the nation’s most representative organization of registered workers of Guyana has been following closely the unfolding situation regarding the imposition of Value Added Tax on Education. Having considered this matter from different perspectives, it is our view, that the privately-run schools, at this juncture of our country’s development and with the economic straits that we are facing, are playing a positive role in our education system. Indeed, we believe, it to be a laudable feature that is supplementing our national public school system which experiences, in instances, certain strains and inadequacies. With this in mind, it would appear that parents should not be discouraged if they opt to send their children to private school.
Let us be reminded that education is seen as key to removing our people from poverty and one would think this suggests that hurdles would not be thrown in the path of those who are pursuing it whether in state or privately-run schools.
VAT on Education, given the Government’s stated emphasis on education is certainly an unwise and clearly an unpopular decision. FITUG urges a reconsideration of this measure especially in light of the multiple tax measures which are to be borne by the people and the effects it has on the living standards of our working-people. Moreover, the massive tax revenues amassed, according to information, would strengthen the call to revisit this matter with a view to rescind such a tax as FITUG calls for.
VAT on Education has coincided with the massive hike in the University of Guyana tuition which will almost certainly lead to denying many youngsters the opportunity of tertiary education. With the reduction of job opportunities arising from the deteriorating economic circumstances and now a high cost of education, the future for many youths, especially those from poor backgrounds, seems bleak at this time.
The Federation stands in solidarity with the Guyana’s Private School United (GPSU) movement and are supportive of its call for the Government to abandon this wrong policy. We call on the coalition regime to recognize that this tax will impact negatively on the education and the future of many, many of our youthful citizens. We urge the government to take into account the adverse effects that these measures can have on national development, now and in the future. In our view, the revocation of these decisions is just common sense.