The next sitting of the National Assembly is scheduled for Monday (January 30, 2017).
Under Private Member’s business, the opposition, Peoples Progressive Party will be tabling a motion calling on the government to restore zero-rated items which were removed from the list.
According to the motion to be moved by Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira, the Opposition will be calling on the Minister responsible to “repeal” the Value Added Tax Act (Amendment of Schedules) Order No. 18 of 2016, made under the VAT Act which comes into effect on February 01, 2017.
It is noted that “where as the…amendments…published in the Official Gazette on December 19, 2016, seeks to amend the schedules I and II to the Act and moves the items, which were previously zero-rated under section 17 and 18 to be exempted status,” the impositions of these amendments are likely to have an “unfavourable effect on the people of Guyana and the economy.”
In his 2017 National Budget speech in December, Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan proposed to “expand the list of exempt items and eliminate all zero-rated items, with the exception of those pertaining to exports and manufacturing inputs.”
Commissioner-General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia defending the move noting that this new direction was compelled by the need for more “equity in the system” since it was found to be replete with persistent failure by many VAT registrants to maintain proper records and unwarranted refund claims.
“We used to spend virtually eighty percent of our VAT resources on verification of refunds claimed by manufacturers/sectors. By moving certain items from being Zero-Rated to exempt, we do not have to do that anymore. It means that our staff could now concentrate on enforcement, audit and compliance activities and paying over the VAT collected.” Mr. Statia had noted in a December 16, press conference.
‘Zero rated Supplies’ are those goods and services that are taxable but, for economic reasons, are taxed at zero percent (0%). Meanwhile, ‘Exempt Supplies’ are those that, for social or difficult-to-tax reasons, are not taxed.