‘I did not get billions, I work hard’- Robert Badal

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Presidential Candidate of Change Guyana Robert Badal is not denying claims that he received billions of dollars in tax concessions from the Government but said he was entitled to it because of his contributions to the country’s infrastructural development.

Badal, who is also the owner of the Pegasus Hotel, told a press conference Thursday, “I received no favour, I asked for no favour at all. What the Minister is calling concession, those are industry-related measures to promote investment.”

He was at the time responding to comments made by Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who during a radio programme on Wednesday said Badal benefitted from “billions of dollars” in tax incentives.

Jordan said a list of all such concessions granted will be made public.

Badal lashed out at Jordan noting that “in the five years of this Government, they move the threshold from $50,000 to $65,000. This means the average person taking home $100,000 only benefit from $5,000 per month in five years –can’t even buy a meal. Let the Minister answer to this rather than talking about my billions.”

“I didn’t get billions, I work hard,” the businessman declared.

Badal said Guyanese investors continue to be discriminated against when it comes to concessions, noting that the taxes are extortionary, excessive, discretionary and promotes corruption.

Badal had previously made several proposals to reduce the tax burden on the private sector and public servants if elected to office; he believes that once taxes are lowered, there will be no need for tax concessions to promote development.

“If you have a low tax destination where you don’t have these extortionary taxes, I would abolish concessions,” he said.

Badal promised to increase the tax threshold to $100,000 once he is elected to office.

Following the launch of Change Guyana, Badal was accused of trying to get back at the government because he was not granted half of the concessions he applied for so as to fast track the expansion of the Pegasus hotel.

Badal has since denied this claim.

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