Nov 28, 2008 News
Executive Member of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton, yesterday called for a complete overhaul of the taxation policies in Guyana. He described the current one as a “thiefing system”.
Norton, who made the call yesterday during the party’s weekly press briefing at Congress Place, also accused the government of stealing from the working population.
The Executive member told media operatives that his party was always in support of the Value Added Tax (VAT) but not one as high as 16 per cent.
In illustrating his point, Norton said that Guyanese workers have been paying 33.3 per cent tax before VAT.
With the implementation of VAT, according to Norton, this means that workers have to pay an additional 16 per cent.
According to Norton, what was worse is that the VAT which was supposed to be revenue neutral raked in significantly more money than the government anticipated.
“There shouldn’t have been an excessive increase in the government’s income…There is an obvious increase in the government’s income…And Government, like a typical thief man, has taken it away from the Guyanese…like a typical thief man, will seek to suggest it’s ours (Govt.) and we (Govt.) could do what we (Govt.) like with it.”
He added that the government “cannot” continue to rob the Guyanese people and should reduce the l6 per cent rate. “This will help in garnering resources for the country, giving individuals and businesses more disposable income… The PNCR believes that in the final analysis we must have a tax system that isn’t a burden on the people of Guyana.”
Norton emphasised the need for the reduction of the VAT rate as well as the complete overhaul of the taxation policies of the country by drawing reference to the present economic crisis in Guyana, saying that the Jagdeo Administration continues to downplay the severity situation.
“Accordingly, its propaganda machine has been peddling the misperception that Guyanese are comfortable with the existing situation…They have gone so far as to say that the country is better off than most other Caribbean countries…This is a dangerous delusion, as the reality is quite different.”
Norton in seeking base his assertion with fact pointed to recent IMF study which stated that economic activity slowed dramatically beginning in 1998, with average growth falling from 7.1 percent during 1991 to 97, to 0.6 percent in 1998 to 2004, well behind the Caribbean region, and one of the lowest among highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs) and among eligible countries for the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility.
“The Jagdeo Administration, to date, has failed to demonstrate that it has the vision, policies and management capabilities to implement a suitable programme of economic and social measures to place the economy on a path for sustained growth, as is necessary if the country is to be catapulted out of its present economic bind.”
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