PSC criticises Budget 2018

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While parts of the business community have welcomed some of the measures introduced in Budget 2018, the Private Sector Commission (PSC) has questioned whether the Budget is committed to improving the quality of life for Guyanese.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, the PSC said it recognizes that the measures in the Budget will have a positive impact on local businesses, however, measures necessary to sufficiently reverse the negative impact of Budget 2017 are absent.

The body alluded to the change of the tax policy from zero rating to exempt and standard-rated goods and services, the removal of VAT on electricity and on agricultural and mining machinery and inputs.

It noted that there are fundamentals that this budget should address, including “the reallocation of resources, the reduction of inequality in income and wealth; ensuring economic stability; the management of public enterprises; reduction of regional disparities.”

While complimenting the Finance Minister on allocation to the Education sector, the PSC urged that systems be put in place to ensure an adequate return on such an investment and that the monies result in the acceleration of human development.

It expressed disappointment for what it said is no clear policy “enunciated for addressing a projection on the level of corporate taxation based on which the business community can reasonably plan future investment,” a recommendation that the business community had put forward during the consultations.

It was pointed out that though there was the acknowledgment of the shortage of drugs and problems of procurement in the Health sector, there is no policy to address the shortcomings.

Relating to energy, the private sector umbrella body alluded to the abandonment of the Amalia Falls Hydropower Project, noting that the other energy being advanced offers no clear indication of the cost of investment in the energy mix and the future cost of energy per kilowatt-hour.

It also expressed disappointment that a great deal more emphasis was not placed on the development of the Oil and Gas sector.

Budget 2018, valuing $267.1B, was presented on Monday in the National Assembly while debates will commence on Monday, December 4th.

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