All Clear given – import tax, VAT exemptions for disability community

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, June 20, 2019

Persons living with disabilities in Guyana are now eligible for Import Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions on the purchase of smartphones and certain vehicles.

Minster of Public Telecommunications Catherine Hughes announced today that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has recently completed the Tax Exemption Policy. The application process and procedures are now being finalised by the Ministry of Public Telecommunication and the National Commission on Disabilities.

Minister of Public Telecommunication Catherine Hughes

For the first time, these persons will be able to purchase their own vehicles, free of excise duty and Value Added Tax (VAT). They will also be granted tax rebates on handsets with accessibility features, allowing visually and hearing-impaired persons to afford smartphones.

According to Minister Hughes, the ministry had made the proposal to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan in 2018, who immediately took it on board. Minister Jordan made the announcement during his November 2018 Budget presentation.

“This is another means of empowering people. With the increased use in technology. It opens many doors for them, and we hope that it will strengthen their confidence to seek or create employment and use IT for their own development and our national growth,” Minister Hughes said today.

According to her, Guyana’s last census pegged its disability community at 49,000 persons. That number, she said has increased as it also includes senior citizens who have developed age-related hearing and physical impairment. Minister Hughes said the members of this community have lived on the margins of the society for most of their lives since the previous government did little or nothing for them.

During his budget presentation last November, Minister Jordan said the two initiatives solidify the government’s commitment to equity and inclusion for all citizens through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

Image: Keno George

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