PPP Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali has touted several initiatives which he plans to introduce to improve the cost and standard of living of all Guyanese, once his party – the Peoples Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) – returns to power.
With more than 30,000 jobs lost under the A Partnership for National Unity/ Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) government and the rising cost of living in Guyana, tens of thousands of citizens are not enjoying the good life.
Ali, in a prerecorded interview, explained his plan to correct this situation, starting with employment creation.
“We already spoke about reopening the sugar estates, that will help to create income that will help to have the issue of disposable income and spending power corrected in a number of these communities,” he explained.
Nearly 4000 workers from Enmore, Rose Hall and Skeldon were dismissed in late 2017, and over 1000 were dismissed from Wales in the previous year. This means that over 5000 persons and thousands more family members are likely to have suffered from the Government’s policy.
Meanwhile, Ali committed to reintroduce the $10,000 per child cash grant – an initiative which was scrapped by the coalition.
In fact, Ali intends to have this allowance increased to $50,000 per child after a five-year period. The PPP Presidential Candidate pointed out that he believes the money will be useful especially for single parents and deprived families across the country.
Ali said he has also taken note of the removal water and electricity subsidies for pensioners, something he wishes to reintroduce in Guyana.
“Over a five-year period, we are talking about water subsidies for the pensioners of $2.5 billion, that is being taken away from pensioners so we also have to ensure that we return this and these are things that are going to be done immediately,” he assured.
Additionally, he promised to remove the 14% Value Added Tax (VAT) added to these services by the coalition government. According to him, these taxes have had tremendous effects on the cost of living for people across Guyana, something he observed during several outreaches to parts of the country.
The coalition Government withdrew the electricity and water assistance programme which had started under the previous Government. For many, this was viewed as a very unpopular move which led to severe hardships for senior folks.
Furthermore, Ali promised to reinstate bonuses for joint services ranks – another initiative which was scrapped by the coalition.
“One officer told me that he utilized his bonus to buy a freezer and he is using that freezer at home to supplement his income because he is selling chicken and the freezer helps to keep the chicken throughout the week…he tells me that that has been able to supplement his family income to the extent that he pays his monthly mortgage out of that small business,” Ali shared as he alluded to the importance of the bonus salary.
Ali has previously severed in the capacities of ministers of government and is currently the Chairman of the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).