Declaring that Guyana needs a people-centered budget this year that will take into account the current economic issues facing the country, Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Aubrey Norton today expressed concern that the main Opposition APNU+AFC coalition which represents almost half of the population was not invited to make submissions for the ongoing budget consultations.
Mr. Norton believes that the Opposition should have been given a seat at the table to make its proposals ahead of ‘select groups’ which were invited for consultations.
“In this fractured society of ours, participatory budgeting in which citizens are involved in the process of deciding how public money is spent should become an integral part of budget reform in Guyana. It is futile to think that nearly half of the population can be repeatedly ignored without it leading to dysfunctional development at best,” Norton said.
The PNC is hoping that its suggestions can be taken on board. Those suggestions include an increase in the income tax threshold, change in the Income Tax law to ensure that the minimum wage is never taxed and restructuring of the Income Tax rates.
“The PNCR is adamant that this third Budget must impact the people directly, tangibly and beneficially. We are pointing to the urgent, pressing problems that are faced by especially ordinary Guyanese: problems such as the frequent blackouts – something which the Coalition government had brought under control,” the PNCR leader said.
Mr. Norton is also hoping that the budget sets the platform for job and business creation explaining that the lack of economic freedom remains a concern.
“In this regard, there is the need to establish small industrial sites in certain depressed communities to cater for labour-absorbing business ventures. This needs to be done in communities that need them most and should eschew the discrimination that is part of the PPP/C usual mode of operation,” he implored.
The National Budget is expected to be presented to the nation in a matter of weeks.