Budget benefits…

first_img…on VAT for waterIt’s not easy to stand on your feet and ramble on for three hours like Finance Minister Jordan had to do when hedelivered his Budget Presentation. And this was the third time he was doing this within eighteen months!! You get thirsty and you get light headed. Initially, your Eyewitness thought Jordan thinking about a “vat of water” that he could put away, when he announced he was applying “VAT to water”.Now, who in his right mind would think of taxing water in this land we call “Land of Many Waters”? You do remember that this is the meaning of “Guyana”, didn’t you dear reader? Is the government trying to fulfil the Ancient Mariner’s warning about “water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink”? But today, he saw in the press, there was a method to the seeming madness of taxing water. The goodly Minister Jordan explained he really applied the 14 per cent VAT tax on water – and for good measure also on electricity – for our own good! That’s right… just for us!!Isn’t it great that we have Ministers who’re only paid a measly $780,000 monthly and drive around in dingy, duty free, new SUV’s to think about OUR welfare? The Minister elaborated that by being forced to pay the taxes on those utilities, we’d be forced to conserve. And since in this age  of “going green” conservation of good, this will allow us to feel VEERRRY virtuous! One wonders why he didn’t maybe go the whole hog and apply, say, a 100 per cent tax on these items. This way we could’ve conserved even more… and feel even more virtuous. Maybe some of us could’ve even start spouting hovering halos over our heads!Your Eyewitness, who lives on the coastland, was also pleased that the Minister was also more concerned with ensuring that only wealthier coastlanders get to feel virtuous.“Wealthier” because only those who use more than $10,000 electricity monthly would be taxed. And “coastlanders” because our sisters and brothers who’re using an average of $27,000 in electricity monthly in Linden will be forced to pay nothing as they have done for the last three decades. Isn’t that terrible? Not only they won’t get to feel virtuous by paying the 14 per cent VAT on electricity… they are forced to feel totally shitty by not having to pay at all!! Ahhh… the iniquity of it all! Just goes to show how elitist we coastlanders really are!! But your Eyewitness wonders if the Minister and his comrades in Government will get an opportunity to feel virtuous?Will they be paying VAT on their water and electricity bills?…in bridging gapsPrime Minister Moses Nagamootoo, who’d been accused of “bungling” the defence of the first budget back in 2015, was as loquacious as ever to show he’s the man in charge of government business in the house. After all, he’s a very important man, isn’t he?After the Finance Minister’s presentation, Nagamootoo was reported to have said: “the budget was geared towards bridging the gap between hinterland and coastal settlements.” When he heard this, your Eyewitness was intrigued. After all even since they started to keep statistics on these things, our hinterland folks were always the poorest. So he examined the budget. Government workers, who never got their promised “significant” raise, were now told they were shiftless and lazy, and so no bonus this year!Ditto for sugar workers who were not only NOT getting their Annual Production Incentive (API), but about half of them are going to be thrown on the breadline!!…is the Government “equalizing” things between the Coast and Interior by making coastlanders as poor is hinterlanders?…and airline competitionWe know the competition’s heating up in the coming Christmas season between Caribbean Airlines and Fly Jamaica. But wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for the former to “clip the wings” of the latter rather than “cut their tail”??last_img

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