No tax increases in Budget 2021 – Jagdeo

…says Guyanese can expect a pro-poor, pro-entrepreneur budget

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo

Guyanese can expect a pro-poor and pro-entrepreneur budget when it is read on Friday, and be assured that Budget 2021 will feature no increased taxes – which the population had complained bitterly about under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
This assurance was given by Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo. Asked about what the population can expect as it relates to taxes, Jagdeo made it clear that the Government will not be increasing any taxes. He also laid out the fiscal benefits people have experienced since the People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s last budget, when a number of rates and taxes were lowered.
“That is why I made it clear, there will be no tax increase. Because that is clear as daylight. That has been a feature of PPP budgets, and we made it clear that we don’t want to bring additional burdens on people. There will be no tax increase. The rates that we reduced or eliminated last year – when annualised this year, would amount to $40 billion in benefits to people this year.
“People that were paying $40 billion to the Government, they now have that money in their pockets. People who were paying higher electricity bills, because of VAT (Value Added Tax), higher water charges, higher taxes on medical issues because of VAT, those kinds of things,” Jagdeo said.
The Vice President went on to lay out some of the initiatives the budget will feature. According to him, the Government will be supporting small businesses while simultaneously lending support to the economy.
“The budget will directly support many initiatives, not just in the organised Private Sector, but also in small business: hoping to incubate new entrepreneurs and assisting them directly through Government grants or soft loans,” he said.
Jagdeo also noted that Budget 2021 would further build on what they have started in the 2020 emergency budget. He explained that they would continue to dismantle the anti-poor systems set up by the former APNU/AFC Government.
“It shall be a continuation of the framework already established… and reflected in our manifesto. We remain faithful to the key objectives in this budget and every budget in the coming years. These budgets will all advance us closer to those goals we have established,” he noted.
“We are going to dismantle all those policies that affected poor people that APNU/AFC put in place. Apart from dismantling some of the policies APNU/AFC put in place that were harming the poor and Private Sector, it (the budget) will create incentives for productive bases of the economy in all non-oil sectors,” Jagdeo also said.
It was announced a few days ago that Budget 2021 would be delivered in the National Assembly on Friday – a feat that would make this the second budget the PPP/C Government has been able to deliver in just five months.
This year’s budget will be the first full-year national economic plan presented by the PPP/C Government since taking office in August 2020. The previous budget, which it presented in September 2020, was an emergency one that nevertheless contained sweeping measures rolling back the heavy taxation measures inherited from the former Government.
Budget 2021 comes at a time when it is expected that work will begin on the new Demerara Harbour Bridge, which will be among several projects that will take centre stage this year.
Major highways across the East and West Coast and East Bank of Demerara will also be commissioned. Preparatory work is also set to start for the construction of the highway to Brazil and the Deep Water Harbour in Berbice. (G3)