Apr 14, 2015 News
Leader of the APNU+AFC coalition, Brigadier David Granger (rtd), and party member Catherine Hughes, promised to review Guyana’s burdensome tax system, if elected to office after the May 11 General and Regional Elections.
This, the candidates promised, at a forum hosted by Guyana Women Roundtable (GWR) and Guyana National Youth Council (GNYC), at the Theatre Guild Playhouse, Parade Street, Georgetown, where they addressed issues affecting mainly women and youths.
The pair was responding to a question posed by a member of the public, who wanted them to address the 30 per cent Pay As You Earn (PAYE) tax, 16 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), and heavy import duties for used vehicles which currently oppress tax payers.
The coalition’s presidential hopeful explained that his party (APNU), had examined this possibility before, and had even teamed up with the Alliance for Change (AFC), during the “short life” of the tenth Parliament, to propose a reduction for VAT.
He added that the proposals were never approved by the executives. “We have made proposals for the raising of the income tax threshold with respect to PAYE, and we have been told by the executive that they would elect a Tax Reform Commission, since 2012/2013.” Granger lamented that the “Tax Reform Commission” is yet to be implemented.
Under an APNU+AFC government, Granger assured that a credible Tax Reform Commission would be instituted, and income tax would be increased, thereby decreasing PAYE and reducing VAT. He added, “Both the APNU and AFC have committed to, and are very likely to reduce the tariffs on used vehicles.”
Granger explained that he was unable to provide specifics as to the new percentage that the coalition is looking at with respect to VAT and PAYE, without consulting his partner. He said, “The coalition only signed the Accord on February 14, and some of these decisions have not yet been addressed”, consequently, he refrained from making such an announcement at that time.
Hughes, in keeping with the theme of the forum, advocated that under the coalition, there would be the implementation of a tax credit system for employers that are willing to provide in-house day care facilitates for female employees.
She explained that the role that women play in this country is very important to her party. Hughes said, “When it comes to the tax system, we’re saying that, for employers, we want to be able to create a facility where a woman does not have to worry about the care of her children.”
She went on to address what she referred to as Guyana’s very “archaic banking facilities”, and the need for increasing micro credit financing.
“Banking system is not friendly enough to women…” she recalled an incident where she went to the bank to borrow “a very small amount of money”, and had to wait three months before the transaction was completed.
To this, Hughes stated, “This is not just Guyana but all over the world. Women have the highest repayment schedule. She explained that in order to face this challenge head on, the diplomatic community and local authorities would have to get involved.
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