“We were taxing education and health…how crazy is that”

– Economist hails removal of burdensome taxes in Budget 2020

The rolling back of burdensome tax measures, implemented over the past five years, has been hailed by Economist, Dhanraj Singh, as timely and the injection needed to resurge the Guyanese economy that was on a downward trend.

“We were taxing education and health, just think of how crazy that is. We are a developing country and so those are some of the burdensome measures this budget rolled back that I think overall really setting the stage for economic recovery in a timely manner and going forward into the future,” Singh said appearing on the National Communications Network (NCN) ‘Insight’ programme.

The 2020 National Budget presented on Wednesday, contains a number of tax breaks among them, the reversal of VAT on electricity, water, private education, private health care and exports.

This is the fifth budget, that Singh, who is also the Executive Director of the Guyana Budget and Policy Institute, has examined over the years.

The Economist said for the first time, the priorities that the institute has written about over the years are also reflected in the budget. 

He welcomed this development and the fact that the measures contained are putting monies back into the “hands of the ordinary people so that they can spend it for their own development and welfare as oppose to handing it to the government.”

Public Work Minister, Hon. Bishop Juan Edghill in presenting the budget had assured that in addition to being formulated with much consultation from various stakeholder, the measures contained in the 2020 fiscal spending focuses on bringing under control the spread of COVID-19, and opening up the economy and restoring economic activity to some level of normalcy.

Chairman of the Action Invest Caribbean Incorporated and Former Georgetown Chamber President, Vishnu Doerga who also appeared on the Insight programme applauded the measures for being a “step in the right direction.”

He observed that, “there are some measures that will put income into the hands and keep some income into the hands of the citizens of our country especially those who are earning an income and have to take care of their families.”

Doerga singled out the reduction of VAT on electricity and water and other supplies. This, he said will allow people to have more spending power, as well as the social measures that have been put in place given that Guyana is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.