Budget Debate 2017: Opposition Leader accuses Gov’t of renaming old projects & increasing tax burdens on citizens
Opposition Leader, Bharrat Jagdeo took a swipe at the Government during his presentation in the National Assembly today when he accused them of simply re-naming projects that emerged under the PPP regime and claiming them as theirs.
Jagdeo cited the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project as one such initiative, which according to him, the Government would have to return to, but under a new name given all they have said about its viability.
The Opposition Leader said Government does not have an historical idea about these projects, pointing to the Center for Biodiversity, which would be placed at Iwokrama, as another project which was already included in the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS).
Earlier in his presentation Jagdeo accused the Coalition Government of simply redistributing the laptops which were left after the PPP to teachers,under the One Laptop Per Family Project (OLPF).
He called on Government to make the sectors more internationally competitive.
According to Jagdeo the APNU+AFC Coalition Government is involved in “Kakonomics” elevating it to a science. (Kakonomics describes an exchange of goods or services in which people prefer to give a low quality good or service in exchange for another low quality good or service.)
He said the 2017 Budget makes no provision for jobs or investments rather it has increased the tax burden and somehow has found a way to cast the blame on the PPP.
In his estimation Government has increased the tax burden by 9.2 billion dollars, which is reflective of a 25.6 percent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) collection. He noted that citizens are not concerned about the tax rate but the burden it places on them, deeming the implementation of these taxes as “unconscionable.”
Reference was made to an implicit tax charge for businesses over the last year and reduced remissions for businesses, churches and other Charitable Organizations.
Jagdeo called on the Government to get rid of the “slavish mentality” which sees them agreeing with studies done by foreign firms which only leads to the stifling of development.