The Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) yesterday called on the Government of Guyana to withdraw the proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) on the consumption of electricity and water.
In a press release, the CCCC said that the imposition was a real “sleight of the hand” operation by Finance Minister Winston Jordan who reduced VAT by 2% then came through the back and tacked it back on an already burdened population. The announcements were made in Monday’s 2017 budget presentation.
“The majority of Guyanese pay more than $10,000 for electricity and $1,500 for water monthly, this means their bills will automatically go up by 14% which may work out to more than the salary increases they will get,” the release contended.
This assertion contradicts a statement made by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo.
The Government Information Agency (GINA) has reported Nagamootoo as stating that of the 138,000 Guyana Power and Light (GPL) customers, about 105,000 residents and 4,800 businesses pay less than $10,000 per month, hence some 80% of customers would not be affected by the new VAT measures.
The CCCC has asked for the measure to be withdrawn.
It has also called for a withdrawal of the proposed 2% transfer charges on the selling of a vehicle which it claimed is another backdoor tax.
“The increase in the (income tax) threshold with the one third measure of exempt income is welcome as even with a higher bracket of 40% the effective tax rate as shown in the calculations, will be lower but why spoil this desirable measure by taking it back with the next hand?” the chamber asked.