Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams, rising to support Budget 2017, said that the budget is another step that will take “all to the Good Life”.
Thanking the Finance Minister for his efforts, Minister Hastings-Williams said, “We are at a point that where we have to take an audacious step to wean our people off the current extractive economic model that is leading this nation downhill.”
Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings- Williams
She opined that the Opposition was only criticising the Budget for the sake of criticising.
“Mr. Speaker the wildcat reaction to start a media frenzy is a cheap strategy on their part to gain publicity.”
She added that all of the measures being criticised were actually introduced by the PPP/C Government such as Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Excise Taxes on motor vehicles.
The Minister noted that despite claims that VAT would be revenue neutral when it was introduced by the PPP/C, extra revenue of $12.6 B was actually realised. The Minister recalled an article published by Chartered Accountant Christopher Ram in 2010, entitled ‘VAT, No Burden, a different perspective’ in which it was explained that the organisations, Red Thread and Women Across Differences argued that VAT for many women is a burden and beyond bearing.
She said, “The Government, along with their economist in a swift and dogmatic defence quickly stated that the women missed the bigger picture of the macro –economic fundamentals”. Hence, she said that if they could peddle such deceit, “Why should the people now listen to the claims being made about the reduction of VAT?”
She cited the fact that 155,011 or 94.5% of Guyana Water Inc., customers according to the company’s research paid less than $1,500 per month.
“It was found that the 14% VAT will cost the 8,324 customers currently paying $1,500 and more in water charges, a paltry $1,044 monthly, not to mention that these 8,324 customers are hotels, restaurants, government ministries, malls etcetera .There is no way that the new measure will distort the consumption pattern with a mere additional charge of $1,944.”
The new VAT on water, she added, will lead to more conservation… “Water is life, every drop counts”.
In order for all to have the “Good Life”, nothing comes easy, the Minister said, and all should understand this. She made mention of the pay increases since Government took office, and said that as a result of the economic stimulus, trade and private consumption will surge. “The good life and the economy will gather steam in 2017.”
In closing, Minister Hastings- Williams highlighted the improvements wrought especially in the provision of potable water, and health and educational facilities in several hinterland communities such as Monkey Mountain, Campbelltown, Princeville and Mahdia, Region 8, Paramakatoi, Port Kaituma, Koko, Moruca, Tassarene and Karrau exclaiming, “Mr. Speaker, the nightmare is now over!”