Private sector disappointed over non-reduction of excise tax on fuel

first_img…calls for mechanisms to facilitate green growthExecutive Director of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI), Richard Rambarran, has said that although the private sector is happy to see some money coming back in the hands of the consumers, it is extremely disappointed that the Government has made no move to remove or reduce the excise tax on fuel.GCCI Executive Director, Richard RambarranHe made this pronouncement following Finance Minister Winston Jordan’s presentation of the 2019 National Budget in the National Assembly on Monday.“I am very happy money has been placed back in the hands of the consumers and private sector; however, what is very worrying is that the excise tax on fuel and the nature and cost structure of the fuel remain the same, which is something the private sector certainly could have done with a reduction in,” he said.He explained that in 2018 fuel has had a rehabilitating effect on the private sector because of its multipurpose. He noted that it is not only used in manufacturing, but in every other aspect of business.“It is used in distribution, it is used in just about every single aspect of the production and distribution line; and as such, there should be something, or there should have been something, which addresses fuel costs,” he noted.Rambarran further related that the Government needs to be more serious about the development of a green economy, and not just talk about developing a green economy. He identified the lack of advancement in this area despite the Government repeatedly talking about the Green State Development.“If we are going to talk about green economy and renewable energy and all of that thing, we (the private sector) have been saying for some time that the private sector is very advanced in this regard. And the private sector has been saying that we need to have mechanisms in place where we can do grid tie and getting rebates etc for when you put in place your solar power and renewable energy, for us to be able to get something where we channel energy back to the grid. We see once again another year has passed and nothing along this line,” Rambarran pointed out.He noted that the current budget presented need to be taken within the current context of Guyana since, according to the 2018 numbers, there has been minimal growth in a number of sectors and sub-sectors, as well as contraction in a few as well. However, he said that they are pleased with the measures identified, which would ultimately put money back into the hands of the consumers as well as the private sector.On the issue of tax reduction, he explained that the private sector are somewhat pleased with some of the reduction identified, but reminded that they are not across-the-board.“The Chamber of Commerce specifically is very happy that we have gotten some of our requests granted to us from our budget document. We would have met with the Minister of Finance during consultation period and he provided us with the opportunity to air our views. Specifically, we are looking at things like pesticides, limestone, toxic chemicals, and even the aviation industry. We were looking at fuel, but those which were granted were aviation industry pesticides limestone, and those were some we bargained for. We have an entire list we submitted for other things, and we see those coming out in other sectors indirectly for example infrastructure regarding farm to market road etc,” the GCCI Executive said.Guyana’s private sector bodies have been calling on Government to cushion the effect of the excise tax on fuel prices, which affects every aspect of their businesses. Leading that call was the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) who, during its budget consultation meeting with Minister Jordan, also called for better roads and incentives for the renewable energy.last_img read more