Citizens need to look at “broader investment” in 2019 Budget, AFC says

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The Alliance For Change (AFC), which makes up a small fraction of the Coalition Government, believes that citizens need to look at the 2019 National Budget holistically rather than just the physical distribution of monies to persons.

This is according to General Secretary of the AFC, Marlon Williams, who at a press conference Tuesday, referenced the minimal increase in Old Age pension from $19,500 to $20,500.

“It’s not just the physical distribution to that given person, but rather the broader investment from the national budget,” Williams said.

The increase in Old Age pension, public assistance, the threshold and increases in public servants’ wages along with reduction in taxes, are areas which citizens look forward to during each annual Budget presentation.

However, the AFC believes that of greater value, is the $52.2B allocated to the Education Sector as it is an investment in youths.

“The greatest investment in youth in the National Budget is that 52+ Billion dollars,” Williams told reporters.

He said this will augur well for the development of the emerging oil and gas industry.

“If we really want to benefit from the new coming oil industry, we have to invest heavily on education because no longer should we…see people in the not too distant future, having to come to Guyana and we pay thousands of dollars for them to just turn a pipe on any rig or anything of that nature…What we have to do is to build capacity,” he noted.

Zooming in on the development of youths, Williams said the AFC would like to see further development of community initiatives and maintenance of infrastructure. He also called for more investments in sport.

“We have to work on developing the quality of life in Guyana,” he said.

In a statement read at the start of the press conference, the AFC lauded the measures which target small business development, growth and expansion and persons living with disability are particularly welcomed by the party.

For persons with disabilities, the Government is moving to implement a tax concession for private vehicles specially equipped for transporting those persons.

The Government will also examine the feasibility of providing a tax rebate on cellphones with accessibility features for persons with visual or hearing impairments.

Vocational training will also be provided to 140 persons with disabilities in the new year.

“The AFC ministers in government worked tirelessly in lobbying, preparing and making representation for a budget which is directed towards improving the lives and welfare of our Guyanese people,” the AFC said.

“The Party is pleased that Public Infrastructure, a portfolio held by the AFC has been allocated $38.5 billion while another AFC ministerial portfolio – Public Security has been allocated $35.6 billion. Agriculture and Public Telecommunications have together been allocated $21B.”

The AFC said it looks forward to the Linden-Lethem and Parika to Bartica road projects and a new four-lane high span bridge across the Demerara River.

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