Private Sector wants reduced energy costs & taxes in Budget 2022

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PSC Chairman Paul Cheong

While the last budget presented by the PPP/C Administration was highly-praised by the business community for significantly addressing the prevailing challenges in the local economy, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) is looking forward to more measures in the upcoming Budget 2022 that can bring further relief to the burdens affecting both businesses and ordinary citizens.

PSC Chairman Paul Cheong told media operatives today that the organisation is still “fine-tuning” its proposals but there are a few key areas which they hope to see addressed: infrastructure, energy, and the tax regime.

“We’re still fine-tuning that right now. We need to continue with the infrastructure development. We have an infrastructure deficit and to make things better, we need farm to market roads. I know the Government has a programme to work on the electricity. We’re hoping that it would kick-off even more this year so that the business sector would benefit from reduced costs,” Cheong explained.

“Taxes, they need to look at and examine. I know it’s a balancing act but lots of prices keep rising because of the Covid situation. Freight rates and as I said, you see prices keep rising so we look forward to some relief in those areas,” he added.

The PSC Head further revealed how the Covid pandemic continues to affect businesses, even in its third year.

“This last spike, it has affected the private sector because when people get Covid, they can’t come out to work. When people don’t work, production falls, service quality falls, which is not good for the private sector. What we are preaching is that people should get vaccinated and those who are vaccinated should get their booster shot…Covid is a serious thing. We have seen that and we don’t need to say it anymore. Everybody needs to take it seriously. This is everybody’s business because once you drop your guard and get complacent, we see what happens,” he outlined.

The $383.1B Budget 2021 was deemed healthy to facilitate broad-based and inclusive growth of the economy in terms of job creation, encouraging private investments and more entrepreneurial activities.

Among that budget highlights were the $6 billion allocation for housing, $53.5 billion for health and $15.3 billion for public security. The budget also included $25.6 billion for public infrastructure and saw the removal Value Added Tax and duty on data and ATVs for use in the hinterland.

Reverting basic food items to the pre-2015 zero-rated status and the reduction of water tariffs to five per cent; reducing the cost of construction and homeownership to achieve the 10,000 house lots target were some other features of the last budget.

It also featured no increased taxes – which the population had complained bitterly about under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.