Budget 2017 provides a “sense of appreciation” for the things people take for granted, Government Member of Parliament (MP), Charandass Persaud said in defence of the budget.
Government Member of Parliament, Charandass Persaud
During the first day of debating the budget in the National Assembly on Monday, Persaud chided the opposition for making out the government’s efforts to encourage conservation as “ugly”.
“This budget has good intentions,” the MP noted. Defending the Value Added Tax (VAT) that will be added to water and light utilities, Persaud said it is a measure to encourage conservation.
“If we conserve, we won’t have to worry about VAT. Conserve and it will work. It doesn’t have to be as ugly as they’re making it seem,” Persaud said. The MP slammed the opposition for failing to educate their supporters on the merits of conservation and outlining exactly when the utilities will attract the VAT.
Budget 2017 measures state that the 14% VAT will be applied on water use exceeding $1,500 per month and electricity, exceeding $10,000 per month.
Persaud illustrated that of seven households in a Region Six area that he visited; only two paid in excess of $10,000 on light and none in excess of $9,000 annually on water. “If you conserve knowing that you will pay tax you will avoid paying that,” Persaud reasoned.
Meanwhile, defending the old age pension, Persaud pointed out that the increases to the old age pension under the current administration have been the largest increase ever, a fact that has been ignored by the opposition. In 2016, the old age pension was increased to $18,200 and in the 2017 budget it was increased to $19,000.
Defending the removal of the light and water subsidy to elderly persons, Persaud said, “The increase in pension was more on an annual basis than the two subsidies combined.”
These measures while seemingly harsh will benefit the people and the country as a whole, Persaud pointed out. “Circumstances have changed, times have changed; we need to adjust our lifestyles,” Persaud said.