President Ali announces $4.8B in import taxes, duties reduction

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President Dr Irfaan Ali

With the aim of cushioning the high shipping costs due to the global pandemic, President Dr Irfaan Ali today announced several reductions to shipping-related charges to the tune of $4.8B in order to bring relief to citizens and businesses. These reductions would result in the treasury losing a consequent $4.8B in revenues.

See below for the full statement for the Office of the President:  

The Guyana Government continues to monitor the socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on household income, the private sector and the economy on the whole. In this regard, we have recognized the marked increase in shipping costs from some countries which has moved from an average of2,500 to as much as 15,000 US dollars per 20-foot container and from 3,500 to over 20,000 USD for a 40-foot container.

Duties, Excise tax and Input VAT are calculated utilising the Cost, insurance and freight of imports, thereby allowing for the increased cost of freight to be passed on to the consumer by the importer.

Consequently, having carefully assessed the impact of COVID-19 on the economy to date, and on prices passed on to the consumer due to the increased shipping costs of imports, President Irfaan Ali has instructed that further reliefs be granted by reducing the freight charges to pre-pandemic levels (March 31, 2020), in the calculation of Customs Duties, Excise Taxes, and Input Vat on goods imported.

Consequently, the relevant aspects of the Customs and Value Added Tax Acts will be amended to reflect this concession.

This measure will allow for a saving of $4.8 Billion to the consumer and business community over the six month period, thereby reducing revenue collections by the similar amount of $4.8 billion.

Government Agencies will be tasked to ensure that such savings are passed on to the consumer and not pocketed by unscrupulous importers. This concession is effective on all invoices dated August O11, 2020 and continues in effect until January 31, 2022