… as protesters take concerns to Education Ministry
A large group of protesters on Wednesday afternoon picketed the Education Ministry calling for the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) that was imposed on education by the Government.
“No Vat on education, education should be free”!! That was the song being sung by the protesters who came out in large numbers to picket in front of the Education
The protesters who came from various private educational institutions, along with parents, all reiterated yet again their stance that the implementation of Value Added Tax on education must be removed.
Attorney Christopher Ram, who was also on the protest line, said Guyanese have never had such an imposition on expenditure for education in Guyana’s history. He said the VAT on education is not understandable.
“It has never been the case in Guyana, in 1929 Income Tax was introduced in Guyana and we have never had a tax on expenditure for education in this country, never in the country’s history and so I just cannot understand it. This is bad and it should be removed from the University of Guyana fees because that’s on the books and should also be removed from all these other educational institutions.”
He added that even though the matter is one that will be hard to combat in court, it should be looked at by creative lawyers.
Another protester, Cheteram Ramdihal of Ramdihal and Haynes, said it is unfair for any policy implemented to be a burden.
“I think that it is very unfair to use as parents for the Minister and the Government by extension to come up with a policy where it falls as a burden for the parents of private schools failing to pay their taxes. I would hope that the Minister revises his policy and comes up with a policy to ensure that the private school honours their commitment and not to come with a policy where the parents are being burdened”.
Other protesters also voiced their dissatisfaction; one protester who is an aeronautical engineer said Government does not have an aeronautical school nor can the university sustain one so why should a private one be taxed.
However, a few who opposed the protest and that are in support of the tax on education also voiced their opinions, stating that “the VAT is not a problem”.
Since its application, Government’s 14 per cent tax on private education has received widespread condemnation.
Many are calling the decision one that has not been thought through and needs to be urgently revised or repealed.
However, the Government remains unmoved by the calls by students as Finance Minister Winston Jordan has announced that the move has nothing to do with targeting institutions but broadening the country’s tax base.
He said there was no link between the imposition of the 14 per cent tax and the non-cooperation of private schools to pay their share of taxes. The rationale behind the tax on private tuition, however, is founded on the need to broaden the country’s tax base, and to help fund the country’s expenditure shortfall, as seen in the 2017 $250 billion Budget.
According to the unmoved Finance Minister, Government is committed to the education of all Guyanese, whether it is accessed privately or from public schools.