Beyond tax breaks, gov’t seeking fresh ideas for Guyana’s long-term success

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The Irfaan Ali-led administration is at its midterm in office and now, consultations with key local players are being hosted to determine fresh ideas for Guyana’s long-term success.

On Thursday, dozens of local private sector players congregated at the State House in Georgetown at President Dr. Irfaan Ali’s invitation.

They gathered for what was described as a “very deliberate session” ahead of the reading of the 2023 National Budget, to voice problems they might be facing and solutions to improve those issues.

“I thought it very necessary that this engagement be very open, very frank and very precise in understanding where this country is heading and what our priorities are,” President Ali said.

And he outlined key areas, from agriculture and manufacturing to tourism and human resource development, that more people in Guyana should be keen on.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo addresses local private sector players at State House (Photo: Office of the President/January 5, 2023)

Dr. Ali also addressed some of the issues plaguing his time in office thus far, including consistent claims of discrimination.

But it was Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo who pointed out the need for economic discourse beyond usual demands and lobbying efforts.

According to Jagdeo, private sector bodies usually engage the government on more short-term measures that would garner them increased profits. Meanwhile, other representative bodies lobby for their interests.

He gave the example of a letter just sent by the Private Sector Commission (PSC), ahead of budget 2023.

“Predictably, of the 23 measures here, 17 are to reduce taxes,” he highlighted.

A section of the local private sector players at State House discussing Budget 2023 (Photo: Office of the President/January 5, 2023)

Meanwhile, he pointed out that the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) and others asked for increased wages and salaries.

Though not trivialising those requests, Jagdeo said fresh ideas are needed for long-term development.

“Outside of that, we get very little contribution on framework and the variables that you and the government… all need to take into account into our planning.

“Without a long-term approach there is no sustainable future for this country,” he said.

With those remarks, many business players capitalised on the opportunity to raise their concerns and offer suggestions for improvements. Creating a more efficient banking sector and enabling Guyana to become less reliant on tedious paper-based processes were among the top matters raised.

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