Homebuilding and hinterland transportation costs lowered

-as House approves Customs Act amendment

Homebuilding and transportation cost in the hinterland are now lowered with the amendment of the First Schedule of the Customs Act.

The passage of the Customs (Amendment of First Schedule) Order, brought by Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh, brings into law two measures announced in his Budget 2021 address. 

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh

They are the measure to reduce the duty on industrial-grade cement from fifteen per cent to five per cent, and the removal of duty on all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for use in the hinterland, reducing transportation cost.

“Both of those measures are required to be executed by way of amendment to the First Schedule Custom Amendment Act. That, Mr. Speaker, is the background to this Custom Amendment of First Schedule 2021,” Dr. Singh said in the National Assembly today.

In his Budget address, the Minister said the reduced taxes on industrial-grade cement would boost homeownership and the construction sector. The measures also fall in line with the Government’s manifesto promise to deliver 50,000 house lots to Guyanese, making the construction of 50,000 homes made cheaper.

The removal of duty on ATVs means lower transportation costs to those residing in hinterland communities. The Government last year removed the value-added tax (VAT) on hinterland travel under the emergency budget. 

The measures are the realisation of manifesto pledges to remove burdensome taxes from the backs of Guyanese. A range of taxes, fines and penalties has been removed in consecutive budgets presented by the PPP/C administration, ranging from the reversal of VAT on water and electricity to the removal of VAT on all medical supplies.

Meanwhile, the Minister expressed his disappointment about the notable absence of the Coalition Opposition Members of Parliament.

“Might I also place on record that my colleagues on that side of the House, with the exception of the Deputy Speaker, chose to absent themselves at this critical stage of the conclusion of Budget 2021 and therefore, opted not to add their voice and support to these very important legislative initiatives that are so critical to both the cost of doing business, and the cost of living in Guyana and that are intended to stimulate economic activity, to contribute to growth in the economy and contribute to the wellbeing of the people of Guyana.”

Today, the Government passed its $383.1 billion National Budget themed, “A Path to Recovery, Economic Dynamism and Resilience.”

There are no new taxes in the budget.