The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) is worried that the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Barton Scotland, will subvert a motion by the political Opposition, to among other things, reduce the rate of the Value Added Tax from 14 to 12 per cent.
The warning bell was sounded by the Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira, who was addressing members of the local business community at the Guyana Business Summit.
Teixeira, who was at the time delivering an address on behalf of Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, said while the PPP has already delivered its motion to the Clerk of the National Assembly, the members were not too optimistic.
She indicated that most of the 124 measures outlined as concerns by the business sector were in fact included in the motion sent to Parliament on Monday last – two days before the opening of the Business Summit.
Teixeira warned however that given the track record of the Speaker and Government in the National Assembly, the Opposition was not confident that the motion would even be heard this year.
She told the business community that the next sitting of the National Assembly should be Private Members Day, often referred to as the ‘Opposition Day’.
According to Teixeira, should the Opposition business not be given priority at the next sitting, then it is very likely that the demands of the Opposition would not be heard until sometime next year.
Finance Minister Winston Jordan is slated to present to the National Assembly the Budget for 2018.
The Finance Minister on Monday last announced that there would be no new taxes in Budget 2018, but the Opposition members contended that the 200 new taxes alone that were imposed in the last budget were currently costing Guyanese $10 billion in disposable income.
According to a draft copy of the motion seen by this publication, there has been a marked effect on the business community, “there is a marked reduction in the overall demand for goods and services”.
The motion attributed this marked reduction to the reduced disposable income, “dwindling sugar and forestry sectors that employ in excess of 40,000 persons directly, the downsizing of many businesses and reduction in investment in agriculture”.