Private sector wants Gov’t to freeze PAYE, offer unemployment insurance


The business community has proposed a temporary freeze on the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax and unemployment insurance among other measures to increase spending and revitalize the economy.

The private sector wants these measures to be included in an emergency National Budget which the Government is currently preparing to help persons affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Nicholas Boyer said the proposals were submitted by Ramesh Dookhoo who represents the private sector on the taskforce.

Referring to the PAYE or income tax which is 30% of employees’ salaries, Boyer said: “if I put that 30% back to the employee…then he/she gets more cash in their hand and can now spend during a pandemic [and] when they spend, the [money] circulates in the economy and it has a multiplier effect.”

The country has been without a 2020 budget due to the national elections in March and ensuing political impasse.

President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Nicholas Boyer

The lack of an annual budget coupled with the COVID-19 restrictions implemented since April 2020 led to a decrease in economic activity and reduction in the workforce.

The private sector has recommended the implementation of unemployment insurance which can be paid to persons who lost their jobs.

“Unemployment insurance could be more structured where you look for people who were recently laid off and whose incomes are within a certain bracket and those who have dependents like children…if they are missed with hampers, they still need to survive,” Boyer told the News Room during a telephone interview.

“So if you lost your job in the last three to five months, you can collect a cash stipend…work out a way for them to collect it.”

Boyer averages that about 25% of the country’s workforce was laid off over the past four months.

He said the distribution of hampers should continue for the vulnerable population.

Another major suggestion by the private sector is a moratorium on loans, something which was implemented by some commercial banks.

President Irfaan Ali on Tuesday night revealed that the Government is working on an emergency budget which will include immediate relief for persons affected by the pandemic.

A larger national budget will be presented later this year.

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