Following the calling out of businesses that owe taxes to the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) by the Mayor of Georgetown and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (GCCI) reaction to the issue, the two parties have since mend their differences of opinion and are soon expected to ink an agreement, which will address these and other issues.
This is according to the President of the Chamber, Nicholas Boyer, who in an interview with Guyana Times explained an initial meeting was held with the two parties to discuss issues of the business community.
“We’ve discussed at a high level a collaboration with the Mayor and City Council, our next step was to draft a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) which we’ve drafted. The Mayor and City Council has vetted that and we expect to be signing that MoU very soon,” Boyer said.
He highlighted that the MoU will address a number of areas such as solid waste management, construction permits and several others.
“One of the parts of the MoU is the rates and taxes so we will ensure that we create an avenue for the Mayor and City Council and businesses that are members of the Chamber to have interactions so that we reduce any sort of issues there are under the heading of rates and taxes,” he revealed.
The President of the Chamber added that he would like to see positive steps taken to develop the City which he believes the Mayor is doing. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is expected to be signed within the next two weeks.
Earlier this month, Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine called a press conference where he disclosed that just about 144 business proprietors have failed to pay taxes which attributes to the build-up of garbage in Georgetown.
The business community was quick to jump to the defence of its members and had requested that the Mayor produce a list of defaulters which was never publicised. Boyer, in response, had said he is cognisant of the fact that some businesses in the city may run away from paying their taxes; however, he believes that direct appeals should be made to those establishments, rather than label every organisation with the same title.
“Before you got to that stage of just calling out high-end businesses and so those comments may start to create a more contentious atmosphere… we understand why he is doing it because he may feel like these businesses have not been paying taxes over such and such a period so maybe he feels frustration,” Boyer explained.
The Mayor had said he needed permission from the other Council members before revealing the list of defaulters.
Nevertheless, in a recent interview with Guyana Times, Public Relations Officer of City Hall, Debra Lewis said errant business owners have been forthcoming in paying their dues to the Council. Several business owners have also enquired about the possibility of setting up payment plans to reduce the taxes owed to the Council, she said.
Lewis nevertheless reminded that some $8 billion is collectively owed by those business owners with personal accounts ranging from $200,000 to $300,000. Some businesses even owe the municipality millions, the PRO added.