Workers attached to the Canefield-Enterprise Neighbourhood Dem-ocratic Council in East Canje, Berbice have finally been paid their wages and salaries albeit not the full amounts.
For the past four months, the workers were not paid for services they had rendered to the NDC.
The NDC relies on the payment of taxes to survive and pay its employees and GuySuCo is the largest single entity from which the NDC collects taxes, as it represents over 50% of the NDC’s taxes’ base. Unfortunately, the NDC is currently experiencing a cash flow shortage owing to the fact that its main taxpayer, GuySuCo, owes it $25M.
However, a few days ago, the NDC was able to pay the workers approximately half of the monies owed to them after GuySuCo paid it some $1M in taxes. This payment of backdated taxes came in the wake of representation made by the Region Six Chairman David Armogan to GuySuCo on behalf of the NDC and its workers. While empathizing with the corporation which he says is under terrible monetary strain, Armogan said his administration strongly encouraged the sugar corporation to pay their taxes.
“I made personal representation for them, with the GuySuCo CEO, and GuySuCo gave them $1M last week and that will help”, Armogan stated, even as he acknowledged the fact GuySuCo too is cash-strapped and is experiencing difficulties paying its own employees. “They have their own problems but with the understanding of the CEO, he tried to extend to them and give them $1M.”
The chairman went on to reveal that at least two other NDCs within the region are experiencing similar difficulties in paying their workers but that the Minister of Local Government has assured him “some of these NDCs that have problems paying their workers the ministry will assist in paying the workers before year end so that we don’t have a problem with paying workers”.
Armogan said residents need to pay their rates and taxes on time because the yearly subvention given to the NDCs is strictly for the execution of projects. Therefore the NDCs rely on the payment of taxes to manage its affairs. “NDCs pay their workers from taxes generated and people got to understand this. The subvention that government gives to the NDC not a dollar of that money can be spent on wages and salaries. Not one single dollar”. Dismissing the excuses given by tax defaulters who claim monies given to the NDCs is misappropriated, the regional chairman emphasized that “the entire single sum has to be spent on developmental works and those works are tendered sometimes through the region or the government”. Therefore, “when people say the NDC gone with the money and so on, they don’t understand that the NDC can’t go away with any money because these monies are not given to the NDC”.
Further, he said “the only money that is seen by the NDCs is the taxes”. However, the regional chairman admitted the statement was not even accurate given the fact there is generally poor collection of rates and taxes in Region 6, and therefore, the NDCs don’t actually see any money at all. “One of the things we got problems with in this region is that almost 100% of the NDCs in this region have not been able to collect even 40% of their taxes. Less than 40% is collected in most cases”.
This, Armogan said is very troubling. “If people are not paying their taxes then the NDCs would not have money to pay wages and salaries to their workers; and so the government has to intervene and help them to pay”. So in as much as people are clamouring for services, “our people must understand too that they have an obligation to pay their rates and taxes”, he declared. The regional chairman said it is unfair for residents to withhold payment of their rates and taxes and still “ask for services for which you are not even contributing a dollar towards”.
Meanwhile, the Canefield-Enterprise NDC workers are expecting to receive the balances of monies owed to them before the end of 2014.