Govt’s ‘friends, family and favourites’ include all of Guyana − Natural resources minister

The thousands of public service workers benefitting from salary increases and the increase in the income tax threshold from $75,000 to $85,000 and other incentives are all ‘friends, family and favourites’ of the PPP/C Government.

Minister of Natural Resources, Vickram Bharrat, made this declaration to the National Assembly on Thursday, the fourth day of the 2023 National Budget debates.

Natural Resources Minister, Vickram Bharrat

He was responding to remarks made by opposition Members of Parliament (MPs), which alleged that this year’s budget is only for the ‘friends, family and favourites’ of the government.

The minister alluded to other measures set out in this year’s budget that will increase the disposable income for Guyanese households including:

  • The increase in the ‘Because We Care’ cash grant for students from $25,000 to $35,000, benefitting over 214,000 school children in public and private schools, and placing an additional $2.1 billion in the hands of their parents.
  • The part-time jobs initiative, which allows for one person per household to work in public offices in close proximity to their homes for 10 days per month and earn $40,000. Some $10 billion has been allocated for the continuation and expansion of the programme, which has benefitted over 10,000 persons to date.
  • The increase in the old-age pension, from $28,000 to $33,000, which will benefit some 73,000 pensioners, thereby placing an additional $4.4 billion of disposable income in their hands.
  • The increase in Public Assistance from $14,000 monthly to $16,000, an over 75 per cent increase since the PPP/C Government resumed office that will provide over $700 million in additional disposable income to over 29,000 persons.

The government has implemented a number of additional measures to increase the disposable income available to Guyanese in the 2023 National Budget.

These include the increase of the low-income mortgage ceiling from $15 million to $20 million, the removal of the 14 per cent VAT on residential properties, which will also further reduce the cost of homeownership, and the reduction of freight charges for businesses, allowing Guyanese consumers to purchase imported products at a reduced cost.