Reduction in excise tax on diesel, gasoline another measure to cushion effect of rising cost of living – Vice President
The reduction in excise tax on diesel and gasoline to zero is another step by the government to cushion the effects of the rising cost of living on Guyanese.
Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo, who was on a two-day outreach in Region Two, made the announcement at a community meeting on Wednesday.
When the government assumed office in 2020, the excise tax stood at 50 percent; however, it was reduced to 35 percent in February 2021, then to 20 percent in October that same year. A further reduction was made to 10 percent in the 2022 budget and now zero.
The Vice President explained that while the cost of fuel remains high due to external factors, the administration continues to subsidise costs by offering incentives, tax breaks, and other measures to supplement household income.
This has been a feature of the government since August 2020. To buffer the rising cost of living, a series of one-off cash grants were distributed to citizens. This included $7.5 billion in aid to households, $1.73 billion in economic grants to 220 Amerindian communities, $1.3 billion in cash payments to nearly 5,300 severed sugar workers, and $2.2 billion to 90,000 people benefitting from old age pension and public assistance.
The return of the ‘Because we care’ cash grant and its subsequent increase and extension to children in private schools, as well as the increase in the school uniform grant placed $3.3 billion in the pockets of parents of children attending public schools, and $284.8 million to those in private schools.
Old age pensioners also got more monies in their pockets with increases in their pensions from $20,500 to $25,000, then from $25,000 to $28,000. Some 27,436 pensioners also benefitted from water subsidies, while credits to electricity charges were extended to 49,966 vulnerable households.
All these measures, along with the removal of a number of taxes, the Vice President highlighted, have assisted in easing the burdens brought on by the pandemic and now the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
He said the PPP/C government is caring and sympathetic and is constantly examining ways to improve the lives of the citizens.
Meanwhile, the Vice President noted that education, health, and the infrastructure sectors are priority areas for the government, as investments in these and other sectors will build the human resource capacity of the country.
He said the funds from the oil and gas industry, through prudent management, will be utilised to fund transformational programmes in these and other critical areas.
“We have to carefully craft this path to the future and it is going to be done with a government that is concerned about people and we will fulfill every promise that we made in that manifesto on jobs, on housing on healthcare access, on helping our children and vulnerable groups,” the Vice President related to residents at the meeting in Pomona.
“We had a long list, we are already about 80 percent through that list and we just been in office less than two years…and we’ve had to deal with this pandemic, the worse that the world has seen and yet we’ve managed to stay faithful to what our plans are.”
In addition, Dr. Jagdeo, who addressed a number of issues raised by the residents, said they can be assured that more outreaches by members of the Government will be held across the country.