Finance Minister, Winston Jordan believes Guyanese need to adjust their focus to the positives of Budget 2017 rather than the tax measures. One positive highlighted by Mr. Jordan is the increase in disposable income.
The Minister spoke on this issue, during this morning’s edition (Monday, March 13, 2017) of the radio show, Jumpstart, hosted by Gordon Moseley.
“People claiming taxes, taxes, taxes, they not also claiming take home pay, tax home pay. One; they have a job, there has been; as far as I know, no knocking off of people in the public sector, so they continue to have a job…Two; they continue to have rising disposable income because from the time we came in to now disposable incomes have gone up to 38 percent, our income tax has gone down to them, the threshold has increased substantially” Minister Jordan said.
Mr. Jordan went on to explain that these measures have resulted in the administration giving up “nine to 10 billion dollars” not including the reduction in the Valued Added Tax which now sees an expanded list of exempted items.
The Finance Minister was also questioned on the public feeling of the economy being in a worse state than it was before the Coalition Government took office.
He has responded that there is a simple explanation; the economy is now righting itself and coming out of its previous unsustainable state.
“I believe that the ordinary man may not feel as best as he had had maybe 4, 5 years ago but reality is the economy is righting itself and during this period we have to prepare the economy for what we call the take off because as you know on the horizon is a fairly large inflow of funds to the country.”
Speaking further on the previous unsustainable state, the Finance Minister noted that when the Coalition Government took office, what it inherited was an economy that was running on fumes and “after 50 years you still had the same sectors; same rice, same gold, lesser extent forestry, lesser extent bauxite. Gold has taken over somewhat, same sugar.”
He further explained that “a number of these industries have collapsed and with it the earnings and employment that used to go with it” which also added to the economy’s unsustainability.
According to Jordan the onus is now on the Government to right the economy or it have it righted by someone else.
“The economy has to right itself”, he said, “it cannot right itself overnight and those of us who have gone through the 80s, late 70s, 80s, 90s of heavy structural adjustment in this economy led by say the International Monetary Fund would be aware that if we ourselves don’t adjust the economy then we’re just gonna have to hand it over to someone else to do it” Jordan said.