Mixed reaction from businesses to Budget 2018

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Members of the business community have expressed mixed reactions to Budget 2018.

Deodat Indar, President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), who was a part of a meeting hosted by the Private Sector Commission on Tuesday evening, said businesses were happy that some of their recommendations were taken onboard but wanted to see more measures to create jobs.

During an interview on Wednesday with the News Room, Indar welcomed the reversal of Value Added Tax on education, the reduction of the contributors’ tax and the exemption of VAT on the supply of logs and rough lumber to the forestry sector.

However, the business community wanted to see more long-term plans for job creation, especially given closure of several sugar estates.

“If you’re closing down four out of seven estates – Wales done gone already – that is a lot of people who are going to be out of work.

Deodat Indar, President of the GCCI

“What I keep saying is the other industries like construction, fisheries, forestry which is in a decline, rice industry, other agriculture, bauxite, gold and oil and gas now too, do not have the free space to mop up that loss of unemployment,” Indar said.

Regarding the oil and gas industry, he called on the government to move forward with the Local Content Policy and the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

Additionally, the Guyana Manufacturing and Service Association (GMSA), said it was hopeful that proposed measures to address critical areas such as taxation, access to finance, and energy would have been considered. “These could have provided a much-needed catalyst for the manufacturing sector to achieve the projected 2.4 percent growth,” the GMSA said.

Notwithstanding these interventions in the forestry sector which it welcomes, the GMSA said it is also concerned about the continued decline in the forestry sector.

“Government’s projection of an 8% growth of this sector can only be realized through a holistic approach to the sector’s development,” the GMSA stated.

The Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association on Tuesday night also welcomed several of its recommendations which were taken onboard.

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