Focusing heavily on infrastructural development and increased support for the major sectors, the Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh unveiled the government’s $552.9 Billion budget this afternoon in the National Assembly.
The Budget represents a 44.3% increase over last year’s budget with a 36.6% increase over last year’s total expenditure.
The Minister of Finance in his presentation announced that several efforts will be undertaken this year to ease the cost of living. There will be increased support in public assistance programmes as well as an increase in the income tax threshold.
“Along with all the other measures proposed to increase disposable incomes, our Government would also like to provide additional relief to taxpayers. In this regard, we are proposing to increase the monthly income tax threshold from $65,000 to $75,000 monthly, thereby releasing a total of $1.3 billion into the hands of current taxpayers both in the public and private sectors”, the Minister of Finance announced.
There was no mention of salary increases for public servants in the budget, although that could come later this year.
It was announced that the old-age pension will be increased by $3000 to $28,000 while public assistance to disabled persons will also see increases this year as well as increases in the education grants.
In an effort to reduce transportation and associated costs, the Minister of Finance announced a reduction in the excise tax on fuel from the current 20% to 10%. The tax was reduced twice in the past year to cushion the effects of rising international prices.
The Education sector will see allocations amounting to $74.4 Billion which will continue the government’s Education Strategic Plan for the period 2021 to 2025.
“We will reform the curriculum, expand teacher training, construct new schools, and establish robust systems to take advantage of the finite window of opportunity to educate each generation. Consistent with this vision, $74.4 billion has been budgeted for this sector in 2022”, the Minister of Finance announced.
This year’s budget will see the allocation of $6.6 billion towards the construction, rehabilitation, extension, and maintenance of educational facilities, which includes the start of construction of Prospect Secondary, and reconstruction of the North Ruimveldt and North West Secondary schools, which were both destroyed by fire last year.
The Health sector will see an allocation of $73.2 billion, which will go towards various initiatives including the construction and rehabilitation of health facilities, improved training, and increased efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and other diseases.
The Minister of Finance said he believes that this year’s budget will be seen as the budget that launched the transformation of Guyana.
“When the history of our country shall have been written, future generations will consider that 2022 was the year in which Guyana’s great transformation began. Put differently, if this era is a special era in Guyana’s history, then 2022 is a special year within that era. Of that I am sure. And, my fervent expectation is that Budget 2022 will be judged on its merits, and that my colleagues on that side of the House will see it fit that Budget 2022 deserves the unanimous approbation of this Honourable House”, the Minister of Finance said.
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