Removal of VAT, free water for pensioners effective this month

-Minister Croal

As Government continues to deliver on Manifesto promises, today the Minister of Housing and Water announced that systems are in place for citizens to have more affordable water.

Effective from October 5, 2020, the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) customers are eligible to benefit from two significant measures.

“Every consumer that is paying for their water can expect that, the removal of VAT,” Minister Croal told DPI.

GWI CEO, Mr. Shaik Baksh had said previously that consumers pay over $35 million per month in taxes on water. As such, the new measure brings immediate relief to the population.

For pensioners, the Minister said the Government will reinstate subsidies which were removed over the past five years. This is in keeping with Page 37 of the PPP/C Manifesto for improved access and quality of water and a fulfilment of promises made on the campaign trail.

Subsidies for pensioners will fall into two categories:

“With respect to our pensioners, there are some pensioners who are unmetered and then of course, there are some who are metered. For those who are unmetered […] there is 100 per cent subsidy […] they are not required to make payments on their water consumed,” the Minister said.

However, he added that “for the metered pensioners, the first ten cubic metres of water consumed is zero rated and above ten cubic metres then they will be required to pay the difference consumed at the rate that is being charged for [other] consumers.”

Ten cubic metres of water equates to approximately five 400-gallon black tanks, which is expected to adequately supply water for each pensioner and a partner, once managed properly.

On September 7, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, announced a number of sweeping budgetary measures including the removal of VAT on water and free water for pensioners as part of provisions in the 2020 Emergency Budget.

The implementation of this initiative means that more than 50,000 pensioners in Guyana can now enjoy improved livelihood and hundreds of thousands of citizens can now have more money in their pockets with the removal of VAT.

Pensioners line up to receive their pay out at the Kitty Post Office , Georgetown

Further, the Budget allots a total of $2.8 billion to undertake several water improvement projects in rural and urban areas nationwide, so that all Guyanese can access potable water.

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