By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – More incentives that would have increased consumer spending and provide savings for the private sector to reinvest into the economy, is what the membership of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) would have wished to see catered for in the $220B National 2014 Budget, according to departing President Clinton Urling.
Urling at a press conference on Friday, March 28 to update the media on the GCCI’s position on the budget said that it could be described however as a steady, attractive and people friendly budget that builds on the achievement of its predecessors.
“We would have wanted to see a drop in corporate taxes to around five percent which was done two years ago and even though some had feared a drop in revenues as a result, we saw that last year, corporate tax collection increased by 16 percent,” the GCCI President said.
He added that the Chamber would have also liked to see the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax rate reduced further.
“Last year as a result of the reductions in this rate, the economy lost around $1B in revenues. The Government could have further reduced that rate and look at other ways of offsetting the revenues lost,” Urling reasoned.
He said another initiative the administration could have considered is reducing the high tariffs on imported meats so that prices for those commodities on the local market could be reduced and in turn save consumers billions in disposal income annually.
Urling said he is not entirely disappointed that a number of proposals made by the GCCI during pre-budget consultations were not taken onboard.
“We don’t expect that all our proposals will be implemented in one single year, Budgets should not be viewed in isolation but rather as a continuation of government’s economic and development programme.”
The GCCI Head noted that it was reassuring to see that current government revenues went up by 4.8% and specifically tax revenues increased by 7% to $126B.
“While tax changes have to be implemented gradually, it is important that the government is guided by a comprehensive tax reform proposal. This proposal should be shared with the entire population so that everyone knows what to anticipate over a number of years as it relates to tax reform.”
Urling believes too that measures should be put in place to spur the reduction in foreign direct investment that occurred in 2013. He said this can include tax relief to large international/multinational companies based on size of investment and the number of actual employment created as reflected on payroll.
He was particularly happy of the sector allocation; stating that it is trending in the right direction.