Gov’t changing re-migrant system for the worse – Jagdeo
The new budget measures altering the re-migrant system puts a significant dent on the benefit package for Guyanese returning home, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo charged Thursday.
In his budget speech Monday, Finance Minister Winston Jordan said the current re-migrant system is flawed and has led to abuse on a number of occasions.
In order to ensure compliance, minimize and if not eliminate the abuse, he announced that the Government would now introduce a system where the tax-free value of vehicles brought into the country would be capped at $5 million.
“With this system, a re-migrant can bring as many vehicles as he/she wishes.
“For example, suppose a re-migrant brings in three vehicles, with an assessed value of $20 million, then the re-migrant will be credited with a tax free allowance up to a value of $5 million, and would be required to pay all applicable taxes on the balance of $15 million,” Jordan announced.
In addition, the new system would also mean the removal of the six-month overseas ownership of vehicles, so that the re-migrant would have the option of purchasing the vehicle locally, within six months of his/her arrival.
“This would be advantageous to the re-migrant who lived in a country where driving is on the right, as opposed to Guyana, where it is on the left,” Jordan reasoned.
He also announced that returning students who have completed at least three years of continuous study would be eligible for re-migrant status, which will continue to be determined by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration.
But Jagdeo argued that if there was an abuse of the system, the Government should have fixed it, and not withdraw the benefits from anyone, as in the case of putting a tax-free cap of $5 million.
He said the measures were contrary to the Coalition Government’s posture prior to the 2015 elections when “they said how much they wanted skills” and “needed more people to come back.”
He said that while the benefit for students seems great, it limits the students in the kind of vehicles they can bring in, given the tax-free cap.
“They have changed the system for the worse,” Jagdeo declared.