Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh today presented a $220 billion budget which will see an attempt to spend down what ails Guyana’s sugar industry, with $6 billion earmarked for that subsector. Last year’s budget was $208.8B.
Meanwhile, $500 million is to be set aside to boost the competitiveness of the rice industry.
Among other measures announced in the budget which was read this afternoon, is a 5% increase in old age pension taking it to $13,125 from its current $12,500, from May 1. In addition, pensioners electricity assistance is set to increase from$20,000 – $30,000 per annum.
While there are no new taxes, there is also no new tax relief. Despite numerous calls over the years for a reduction in the 16% value-added tax, this remains the same. Income tax stays at 30% and the tax threshold at $50,000.
Singh also said Guyana’s economy is projected to grow by 5.6% this year. Singh also projected that the inflation rate this year will be 5% compared to 0.9% last year, the lowest rate in decades. Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 5.2% last year while the non-sugar GDP rose by 6.3%.