Guyanese can expect zero new taxes from the upcoming Budget 2024, which will be presented to the National Assembly on Monday by the governing People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government.
Vice President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed at his press conference on Thursday that the administration is continuing within the lines of its track record of introducing additional taxes – a move which would plunge the disposable income within the population.
“It has been a trend of the PPP Governments and this is something we promised in our local government campaign but I can say even at the national level, that there will be no new taxes,” Jagdeo informed.
After entering office in 2020, the Ali-led government had reversed over 200 taxes which were imposed under the former APNU/AFC coalition. In Budget 2021, 2022 and 2023, no new taxes were introduced by the incumbent administration.
Budget 2024, the fifth budget to be presented by the PPP/C administration, is expected to continue along the lines of new economic infrastructure to increase productive capacity, support for industries, social infrastructure, significant support for vulnerable groups, expansion of job creation among other measures.
The Vice President also responded to expectations shared by Opposition Leader, Aubrey Norton that Budget 2024 will reflect ‘more of the same’. He contended that if this means greater support for pensioners and children; the buildout of infrastructure or improved facilities or opportunities for Guyanese, then it is a compliment.
“If it will continue to support the expansion of healthcare or more scholarships to people, then the answer is yes. If it will continue to build recreational facilities for people in their communities and community roads, the answer is yes. It’s more of the same. If your path is a progressive one, more of the same is good. It’s when you have a destructive path like they [APNU/AFC], more of the same is bad. So, more of the same here is a compliment from Norton,” Jagdeo asserted.
It was highlighted that Government has been fulfilling the needs and requests of the people, and supporting initiatives that will enhance the lives of citizens. While the PPP has allowed its manifesto to limit the scope of its initiatives, Jagdeo informed that over 90 percent of their promises were fulfilled, with others in the process of being realised.Government had said the National Budget would strike a balance between addressing the pressing needs and irritants of today, while simultaneously investing in the future.
Last year, the National Assembly approved the whopping $781.9 billion 2023 Budget – the first to be financed in part by revenues earned from Guyana’s historic carbon credit sale agreement and the largest ever in Guyana’s history.
In July, a $31 billion Supplementary Appropriation Bill was endorsed by the National Assembly, paving the way for funds to be injected into climate adaptation measures and support for Indigenous communities.
Then in August, Government approached the National Assembly for an additional $61.013 billion in supplementary funding, to be injected into several key sectors. A significant chunk of the money, to the tune of $33.37 billion, was for capital projects under the Public Works Ministry.
In December, two financial papers seeking approval for $1.8 billion and $24 billion respectively – were approved by the National Assembly.