President Ali assents to $329.4B Appropriation Bill

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President Dr. Irfaan Ali, has assented to the Appropriation Bill 2020 on September 30, 2020, paving the way for the implementation of an extensive list of relief measures for Guyanese.

The National Assembly, on September 24, completed its consideration of the 2020 Budget Estimates and passed the $329.4 billion Appropriation Bill the following day.

This authorises the release of $306,271,285,000 from the Consolidated Fund to meet the expenditure for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2020. It also accounts for $23,273,846,000 in statutory charges.

Budget 2020 has been hailed a success, not only for the swift manner in which it was brought to the National Assembly, but for the extensive measures included to alleviate the burdens placed on taxpayers by the APNU+AFC.

Major takeaways of Budget 2020 include: the $25,000 COVID-19 cash grant, sweeping tax reliefs such as the removal of the 25% corporate tax on education and health and the removal of value-added tax on medical supplies. Some of the most significant VAT removals are on electricity and water, hinterland travel, building and construction materials and cellular phones.

In the Emergency Budget, $150 million was also set aside to support COVID-19 frontline workers, along with the resumption and simultaneous increase of the cash grants for school children to $15,000 and doubling of the uniform allowance to $4,000.

Further, the extensive list of relief measures includes a $5 billion allocation to the Guyana Sugar Corporation to resuscitate the sugar industry after years of neglect and mass layoffs by the former administration.

With much focus on fostering the growth of the small business sector, $100 million has been budgeted for the Small Business Development Fund, $212.1 million for the Small Business Bureau, and $105 million was earmarked for the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development programme.

Budget 2020 was passed under the theme “Our Plan for Prosperity: Protecting our People in a COVID-19 Environment; Strengthening Democracy and the Rule of Law; Incentivising Economic Growth and Job Creation; and, Enhancing Welfare.”