Increase of private tuition to be examined – Minister Harmon

DPI, GUYANA, Friday, April 6, 2018

The matter of the hike in the tuition of some private schools may be examined by the Ministry of Education. Several parents of students attending private schools have raised concerns about the huge increase, to as high as forty-two percent in tuition.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.

Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, during his weekly post-Cabinet press briefing yesterday, said while he cannot give a definitive answer as it relates to the matter since it has not been discussed at the Cabinet level, the Education Ministry may have to conduct an assessment.

“The Ministry of Education, certainly I believe, may have to take a look at this to see whether, in fact, it is an unreasonable impost on citizens but certainly the private schools, the arrangement with students and parents is a private arrangement, but maybe because it may impact so many persons in the society, maybe the Ministry of Education may have to have a look at it,” he told reporters.

Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, during his budget presentation, had announced that the 14 percent valued added tax (VAT) on private institutions will be removed effective January 1, 2018.

This decision followed protests by private school administrators and parents alike when the tax was introduced. Minister Harmon expressed that “there was a big cry by the same citizens who are now complaining that the private schools are charging as much as, I believe 42 percent increase”.

The tax was introduced as part of efforts to widen the tax base; the imposition of the VAT on tuition falls on the educational institutions and not the parents and students, Minister Jordan had explained during engagements with the affected stakeholders.

This decision to reverse the tax, Minister Jordan had noted, will see the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) suffering potential revenue loss valued some $342M.

However, Minister Jordan assured that efforts will continue by the GRA to ensure that these institutions become tax compliant.

 

By: Stacy Carmichael

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