‘Let the budget be people-centered’

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—PNCR calls for an increase in the income tax threshold, interim wage increase of 10%

Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton said an increase in the income tax threshold and an interim wage increase of 10% for public servants are among measures that ought to be included in Budget 2022 to cushion the impact of the consistent rise in cost of living.

As he lobbied for a people-centered budget, Norton, during a press conference on Friday submitted that there be an increase in the income tax threshold to $1.5 million or 1/3 of gross earnings, whichever is higher, from the present $780,000. Additionally, he wants to see a change in the Income Tax law to ensure that the minimum wage is never taxed.

The PNCR Leader also made a call for an interim increase in wages and salaries for public servants of 10% pending the start and finalization of talks between the Government and the Guyana Public Service Union.

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“At the end of the day workers must get at least 25% in wages and salaries increase. An increase of $10,000 per month in the old age pension and the grant given to those in difficult circumstances,” he added.

Additionally, the PNCR wants eligible frontline workers to receive a COVID-19 risk allowance of $50,000 every six months until the Covid-19 pandemic is officially declared over by WHO/PAHO, as well as a grant of up to $5 million to eligible existing micro, small and medium businesses.

It also wants $5 billion to be used for the implementation of a programme of infrastructure renewal in depressed villages and communities, entailing roads, drains, community and recreational centres, markets,

“It is estimated that between 2018 and 2020, $6billion was spent on the importation of carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. This is tragic, given the agriculture potential of the country and the resilience of our farmers. We therefore call for an immediate reversal of this trend. Programmes such as Rural Agricultural Infrastructure Development (RAID), which was implemented under the Coalition government to develop sustainable farming in Buxton, Beterwagting, Mocha and Ithaca, must be revitalized and expanded to other villages, with necessary government support in the form of financing, extension services, marketing and sales,” the PNCR Leader submitted.

Norton said the PNCR also supports GRA’s call for a review of all tax exemptions granted, for a switch from tax exemptions to tax credits.  He noted that such method will plug the widespread abuse of tax exemptions, while garnering additional domestic revenue.



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