President Ramotar in his election campaign speech told Guyanese that he would consider reducing the Value Added Tax (VAT) which the PPP/C imposed upon the people of Guyana. However, the Finance Minister produced the 2012 Budget and Guyanese are horrified about the fact that VAT remains at sixteen per cent.
Was Mr Ramotar’s campaign VAT talk just a gaff, or was the promise to reduce VAT made out of convenience? If there was one expectation Guyanese had with respect to this 2012 budget, it was the hope that the burden of a 16% VAT would have been reduced. On the campaign trail Guyanese were promised the moon and the stars, now it is time for the people to collect on those promises, and time to get out the check card and tick off the promises which were delivered. We, the people, must hold the government accountable.
Raising the threshold to a paltry $50,000 and keeping VAT at 16% is unconscionable and unfair. The average rent is $35,000-$40,000 for a two bedroom house, and when you factor in food, the GPL bill, transportation and all the other costs associated with everyday living, you will see that the ordinary man will continue to exist on remittances. The 16% VAT, from its inception, has been a burden on every Guyanese and the least we had expected was that Ramotar and the PPP/C would have done the responsible thing and taken action to relieve this burden.
All over this country people are expressing grief over the high VAT; there is massive outrage against this tax. I travelled the length and breadth of this country as I campaigned for the APNU and VAT was one of the top concerns of the people.