Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan, has announced that there will be no new taxes in the upcoming 2018 National Budget. The budget will be presented on November 27th, 2017.
At a Monday morning press conference, the Finance Minister said the government will also be looking to fulfill outstanding promises in this budget including a review of the Value Added Tax on private education and the construction of the East Bank Berbice Road.
He promised that the 2018 budget will be about “cleaning up or providing incentives to key sectors that need support.”
The Finance Minister identified the forestry sector as one of those sectors.
Jordan drew attention to the national budget recently presented in Trinidad and Tobago and with a nod of support, he told media operatives that these are the times when governments will be tested on their ability to manage in severe and austere conditions without engendering pressure to the wider population.
The Trinidadian budget has come under widespread criticisms from citizens of the twin-island Republic.
Jordan noted that for Guyana, the ongoing budget consultations have been intense as the Ministry seeks to widen the pool of groups and persons who are included in the annual consultations.
He said the consultations have included meetings with citizens in the street and the regular formal setting with the traditional list of private sector bodies, political and public entities.
“We have met a good group of professionals including young entrepreneurs, wide selection of youths from various regions, generally the consultations have been positive, none of them have been acrimonious,” he added.
The Government and the Budget Planning team are open to meeting the opposition People’s Progressive Party, but Mr. Jordan reminded of the PPP’s push to participate in the process on their terms. He said the PPP’s request for documents, some of which are public, is not a basis for consultation.
The Opposition only participated in the 2015 consultations, since the APNU+AFC government came to office.
Minister Jordan said the government would continue to look for ways to stimulate the economy. He reminded that already, the government has reduced taxes and ramped up salaries and bonuses to public servants.