Gov’t to request US$66 million in supplementary funds to subsidise electricity

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The government intends to submit a supplementary budget proposal of US$66 million to the National Assembly for approval. This allocation aims to mitigate the impact of rising fuel prices.

Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo, while detailing the measures the government has implemented to cushion the rising cost of living so that Guyanese do not feel its full impact, noted that the cost of fuel is on a steep incline.

According to Dr Jagdeo, the cost has increased from $70 to over $100 per barrel, and the government has been absorbing these increases.

“We are paying over $105, maybe $110 per barrel. But we are not increasing the price of electricity. In another country, they would have increased the price of electricity…So, that means before the end of the year, we will go to Parliament for a supplementary of US$66 million for just subsidising electricity, we have to go to the Parliament for that before the recess, because of just fuel prices,” Dr Jagdeo told reporters at his weekly press conference on Thursday.

He pointed out that, contrary to what is being peddled in the local media, the government is working diligently to lessen the impact of the global rise in the cost of living.

The government has also reversed over 200 taxes and fees that were previously imposed by the APNU+AFC coalition government, boosting household disposable income countrywide by over $300, 000 annually.

“If we didn’t do that, if we didn’t keep water rates constant and electricity rates constant, and remove the taxes from fuel so that the price wouldn’t be increased for gasoline and diesel too much, it would have pushed up transportation, water, electricity. And people don’t recognise that – the tens of billions of dollars going into that,” he said.

Additionally, budgetary measures to cushion the effects of the global rise in the cost of living since 2020 have been meted out to Guyanese. These initiatives include grants for persons with disabilities, small business owners, patients on dialysis, and indigenous peoples.

“We have removed the 50% tax on fuel, which is about $75 billion, benefit to people. So, everybody benefits from it, but they don’t see it directly. We have removed that, the 50% excise tax. We’ve removed a ton of value added tax. We have adjusted the freight costs for calculation of taxes,” Dr Jagdeo pointed out.

Moreover, farmers are benefitting from various interventions such as better access to drainage and irrigation (D&I) works, access to more farmlands, and the distribution of free planting materials and fertilisers. These interventions continue to increase crop production and generate more income.

To cushion the cost of living continuously for many families, prices for agricultural commodities remain stable at various markets countrywide.

Based on data compiled by the Guyana Marketing Corporation from June 6- June 13, 2024, the price of beef, chicken and pork remain at a stable $700, $500 and $800 per pound respectively at Stabroek Market.

This is also the case at the Mon Repos market.

Consumers can purchase one local white egg for prices ranging from $42 – $50 at the Stabroek, Bourda, Mon Repos, McKenzie, Vreed-en-Hoop, Parika, Rosignol and Skeldon markets.

Notably, various vegetables such as bora, carrot, and lettuce, which are in high demand, are also affordable at these markets.

The price for one bundle of bora is $1,500 at Skeldon, Vreed-en-Hoop, Rosignol, and Bourda markets.

Meanwhile, the market price for one root of lettuce remains at a stable $380 at Parika and Skeldon market, $150 at Rosignol market, $300 at Vreed-en-Hoop market, $200 at McKenzie market, $360 at Mon Repos market, $280 at Bourda market and $230 at Stabroek market.

The 2024 budget also allocated some $7 billion for additional cost-of-living measures, which will be utilised later this year. (DPI)

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