With the Government tapping in to the earnings from the oil sector, the Finance Minister announced a $1.146 trillion budget on Monday, representing an increase of more than 46% over last year’s budget.
There are no new taxes in the budget and a number of measures that were put in place to keep fuel prices and shipping prices down will continue.
The budget will see billions of dollars being poured into a number of major government projects and initiatives.
$7 Billion is to be spent on still to be determined initiatives to cushion the impact of the rise in the cost of living.
The already reduced taxes on fuel and shipping costs will remain reduced.
The Finance Minister also announced an increase in the income tax threshhold from $85,000 to $100,000, resulting in 13,000 persons being removed from the income tax net.
The old age pension will see a $3000 increase, moving from the current $33,000 to $36,000 per month. Public Assistance will also see a $3000 increase, moving from the current $16,000 to $19,000 per month.
The Because We Care Cash grant will move from the current $35,000 to $40,000 per year and the school uniform allowance will remain at $5,000 per year.
$3000 vouchers will be made available for over 200,000 students and old age pensioners who may require eye tests. For those who will require spectacles after the eye tests, a $15,000 voucher will be made available to them towards the purchase of the eyewear.
Also in the field of education, The government will begin the wiping out of student loans for University of Guyana graduates. However, to get those loans wiped out, the graduates will have to show proof of being employed or self-employed in Guyana after their graduation over a period that is still to be determined.
The Government has said it will begin putting systems in place this year for the introduction of free university education next year.