The coalition Government has been accused of abandoning policies that would help to cushion the effects of rising fuel prices on businesses and households.
Former President Donald Ramotar pointed this out as part of what he said was the regime’s ‘remarkable lack of concern for people’s welfare’ and its support for fuel smugglers.
“The regime has turned Nelson’s eye and a deaf ear to the cries of the people. They have totally ignored the protests of minibus and taxi drivers throughout the land,” Ramotar stated.
He disclosed that the former People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Government had to deal with a similar situation on many occasions and its approach was totally different from this regime.
According to Ramotar, when the price for oil went up internationally, the PPP/C administration adjusted the taxes downward. Similarly, when it goes very high, he stated that the PPP/C removed some taxes completely.
“Indeed, I can recall at one time the price of fuel fell drastically. In that situation, we thought that people should benefit more from the price fall. Even in those circumstances, we reduced the taxes so our people could benefit. The consumers of electricity from Guyana Power and Light (GPL) benefitted due to reducing electricity bills,” Ramotar stated.
He stated that the PPP/C administration used the state-owned Guyana Oil Company (Guyoil) to regulate the price. According to Ramotar, as Guyoil reduced its price at the pump, the private gas station owners had to follow suit to keep up with the competition.
“In the first place, they [coalition government] are very aggressive to collect maximum revenues. Taxes and licences are put on the donkey cart operators and on housewives kitchen gardens. People in micro business are not spared; they too are being hounded down,” Ramotar outlined.
The former President also suggested that another reason for the coalition refusing to ease the taxes on fuel is to help smugglers.
By keeping the price high at the pump the regime is allowing the smugglers to make huge, super profits.
“The regime will, therefore, do nothing to reduce or remove the taxes because this will affect the huge profits that the smugglers make, many of whom are close to the regime, and reduce the kickbacks which some people high in government receive. The people are being soaked to uphold the lavish lifestyle and massive corruption,” Ramotar stated.
The former President noted that the people must now bear the huge burden “to satisfy the greed of the rulers.”
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