Chartered accountant and attorney-at-law Christopher Ram was one on the many persons protesting yesterday in front of the Ministry of Education, instead of the Finance Ministry, calling for the removal of the Government imposed 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on private tuition fees.
According to Ram, Guyanese have never had such an imposition on expenditure for education in Guyana’s history.
“It has never been the case in Guyana, in 1929 Income Tax was introduced in Guyana and we have never had a tax on expenditure for education in this country, never in the country’s history and so I just cannot understand it. This is bad and it should be removed from the University of Guyana fees because that’s on the books and should also be removed from all these other educational institutions” said Ram.
Ram outlined that from a legal standpoint, to take this matter to court would be challenging but said that “creative lawyers” could look into it.
Other protesters also voiced their dissatisfaction; one protester who is an aeronautical engineer said Government does not have an aeronautical school, nor can the university sustain one so why should a private one be taxed.
Since its application, Government’s 14 per cent tax on private education has received widespread condemnation.
However, the Government remains unmoved by the calls recant as Finance Minister Winston Jordan has announced that the move has nothing to do with targeting institutions but broadening the country’s tax base.
According to Jordan there was no link between the imposition of the 14 per cent tax and the non-cooperation of private schools to pay their share of taxes. The rationale behind the tax on private tuition, however, is founded on the need to broaden the country’s tax base, and to help fund the country’s expenditure shortfall, as seen in the 2017 $250 billion Budget.
See more Carl Croker photos of the protest below: