In his speech to Parliament, I notice that Mr Corbin called for this government to give a stimulus package to this nation as part of the budgetary allocations. I want to praise the Leader of the Opposition for he has taken a correct position and this government should make every effort to go in that direction as soon as possible.
With the combination of poor performance in sugar production and the slow-down in remittances from our people abroad, this country is faced with a serious recessionary cycle in the near future and it is vital to our fragile economy that this government follows the example of other Caribbean countries and puts together a stimulus package before it is too late.
With the financial troubles in the developed countries, we see the need for the injection of government resources to turn the tables on the spreading financial disorder − from China to Japan; from Norway to England and from Argentina to the USA. Are we any different in terms of the eventual outcome, once the global situation hits all of us? No, we are not, and that is why we must do something very soon to prepare this economy for the eventual downturn which will come our way.
This government is basically broke and is living on borrowed time − taxing the population to the edge of poverty; racking up local and foreign debt; spending away our future on a bloated bureaucracy and too many infrastructural projects without proper tendering and audits; begging and borrowing wherever it can; squandering the great opportunities of foreign investment and trade which can come our way.
Why aren’t we building a solid manufacturing base; a basic industrial base; a commercial banking sector dedicated to the welfare of the Guyanese masses and not only to serve the rich and famous; a modern state with particular strengths of economic activity designed to compete and succeed in the world’s markets?
With the downturn in our economy later this year or early next year, the job crunch will become more severe and more of our skilled workers will leave Guyana, putting strains on the ability of businesses here to survive, thus creating more unemployment and more poverty.
So, Mr Corbin is absolutely correct in calling for a stimulus package to inject the necessary resources which the whole population from the commercial to the home buyer needs. But this government will cry that it doesn’t have the money, even though huge amounts have been taken in by VAT, the Lottery, individual and company taxation, NIS contributions, gold and forestry concessions and other revenue sources like customs and excise, to mention a few.
Therefore, this government should follow Mr Corbin’s advice and create a stimulus package based on serious tax cuts in a tax reform package. Axe the VAT tax; axe the 33% tax on the working poor; axe the corporate taxes from 45% to stimulate businesses and create more jobs; axe the huge consumption taxes affecting our daily lives. Along with axing the taxes which will slow down our economy, this government should offer concessions to the manufacturing, industrial and commercial sectors so as to encourage growth and stimulate competition which will prepare these sectors for the future and make Guyana’s economy stronger.
Cheddi (Joey) Jagan (Jr)