‘What did you do with the money?’ Indar says Coalition’s taxes made Guyana ‘pauperized state’
Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, on Thursday, laughed off claims by the APNU+AFC Coalition Members of Parliament (MPs) that they had a massive plan during their one-term in office to take Guyana forward into prosperity.
Indar, during his contribution to the ongoing 2021 budget debate, said that plan must have been in the “back pocket of the coalition” who he claimed left the country “broken at every bone and deeply divided.”
Indar knocked the former coalition government on its move to increase taxes. “You were taxing people more than the earning capacity of the country and making Guyana a pauperized state,” he told the National Assembly.
To make his point, the former President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), reminded that in 2015, the same year that the PPP/C left office, the tax revenue for the state was $135 billion.
By 2019, that had risen steadily to $226 billion, a whopping 67% increase.
“That is your record and you can’t hide from it… to say you have helped small businesses when that money extracted from their pockets, is a lie,” he added.
Indar further pointed out that the recorded Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2019 was 5.4% which means that citizens were being taxed far above the earning capacity of the country.
“This is putting both hands in people’s pockets… it came from households, ordinary workers and businesses,” he added.
Indar said the Coalition must say what they did with the monies they raked in from the taxes they boasted about increasing.
“What did they do with the money? Paint buildings green?” Indar questioned.
The issue of the APNU+AFC’s taxation policies came up several times during the debate with Coalition MPs defending the decision as an alternative to borrowing.
The PPP/C has since removed several of the taxes imposed by the Coalition, including Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity, data and water. The PPP/C government also restored zero-rated VAT for equipment in mining and a long list of food, personal and household items.