Private Sector Commission

Budget 2015

         August 11, 2015

 

Media Release

 

The Private Sector Commission wishes to congratulate Minister Jordan and the new APNU/AFC government on the presentation, in a relatively short space of time, of a comprehensive Budget which highlights the vision of the new administration.  The Private Sector Commission is pleased that many of its proposals to the government for measures which would provide a stimulus to the economy and boost investment have been incorporated.

 

The PSC believes that the allocations to the sugar and rice industry will allow those industries to regroup and recover so that they can make significant contributions to the economy.  The assistance to small and medium scale miners will also allow the industry, which has produced the bulk of our exports, to adjust to the new reality of lower gold prices.

 

The PSC welcomes the allocation of funds for roads, bridges, air and river transport and particularly the rehabilitation of hinterland airstrips.  This will undoubtedly boost the integration of hinterland communities into the economic life of the coastland.  The PSC is also particularly pleased about the allocation of financing for the dredging of the Demerara harbour, the siltation of which has for years led to increased shipping costs and therefore impacted the competitiveness of our exports and the final prices of imports.

 

The Private Sector Commission is heartened at the Minister’s plans to remove the red tape which stymies business activities and urges the Minister to ensure that there is greater inter-agency coordination to facilitate the necessary operations of business.

 

The Commission also welcomes the salary and wage increases for the public service and especially the significant increase in old age pensions.  These will undoubtedly provide welcome relief to a large component of the citizenry.  The removal of taxes on NIS contributions is also welcome.

 

The Private Sector Commission is, however, disappointed at the decision to discontinue the Amaila Falls Hydroelectricity Project and would like to urge the government to seek alternate renewable energy sources as the high cost of energy continues to be a stumbling block in the way of the production of value-added goods and the growth of the manufacturing sector.

 

The Commission also notes the decision to lower tolls for the Berbice River Bridge and hopes that this was done within the terms of the Public- Private Partnership agreement.

 

The Private Sector Commission notes the further zero-rating of a slew of goods, with a bias towards locally manufactured products, for the purposes of the Value-Added Tax and believes that this is an acceptable method of providing relief to consumers without the necessity of lowering the VAT rate which would have significant effects upon revenue generation.  The Commission, though it had proposed a number of priority areas for reform of taxation system, is satisfied that this could not have been comprehensively attempted in an interim budget and will await the release of the results of the Tax Committee’s deliberations.

 

    

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