A whooping $55 Billion or quarter of the national budget for 2017 was given out in tax exemptions and concessions by the Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP) administration in 2014.
This revelation was made by Minister within the Ministry of Finance, Jaipaul Sharma during his presentation on a tax motion sponsored by Opposition Chief Whip Gail Texeira.
According to Sharma, this revelation was first made by Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, some time last year.
“Minister Jordan announced last year that tax exemption concession amounted to quarter of the national budget in 2014” he said, adding that $55B was given in tax exemption and concession to friends and acquaintance of the PPP.
The Government presented a $220B National Budget for 2017.
Pointing out that the figures mentioned are factual, the junior Finance Minister told the Western side of the House that reports from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) could be presented to support his contention. However, he did not have the reports in his position at the time.
“While they [PPP] were in power, they willfully did not produce any reports for GRA because they did not want the nation to know what they were giving in tax exemption and concessions” Sharma told the House.
He lamented too, that this money could have been utilized to revive and support several struggling industries, while helping to increase wages for public servants who are the backbone of the economy.
“Imagine what this money could have done for the sugar industry, or the Bauxite industry; for gold miners. Teachers, nurses and other public servants could have benefitted significantly” he said.
The Minister also argued that reduction of taxes and the introduction of same on selected items, came after a comprehensive review was done by the tax reform committee – a committee the coalition government committed to bringing into effect once in office.
“The measures we introduced benefits the poor and ordinary people of Guyana” Minister Sharma said.