Budget 2023 will be read in the National Assembly on Monday, and the Alliance For Change (AFC) said it is ready to throw its support behind it once it makes provisions that would benefit all Guyanese and not just a select few.
Some of these provisions the AFC is expecting in Budget 2023 include free education at the University of Guyana, full subsidy for all types of vehicles on all bridge/pontoon crossings, and the introduction of free speedboat service to all school children and medical personnel from the Vreed-en-Hoop to Georgetown, Grove, EBD to Georgetown and Rosignol – New Amsterdam.
“These subsidies will reduce consumer costs, resulting in more families’ disposable income. It will also reduce traffic build-up due to eliminating waiting time to pay tolls, particularly on the Demerara Harbour Bridge,” the AFC said.
According to the party, these proposed subsidies will cost 1.4% of the funds received from the oil and gas sector for 2022 and benefit ordinary working-class citizens.
Moreover, the AFC expects an increase in the minimum wage to $150,000 with corresponding adjustments to personal income tax to see these persons not paying income tax and a staggered schedule that would reduce current income tax payable.
Further, the party called for an increase in old age pension to $50,000, an increase in disability benefits to $40,000, and a monthly electricity subsidy for all categories of consumers: $5000 for domestic consumers, $10,000 for commercial, and $15,000 for industrial and reduce Value-Added Tax (VAT) to 12%.
“Provide duty-free concession and VAT exemption on equipment and machinery for all businesses involved in Agriculture. The private business sector proposed this. New shelters across all Administrative Regions for women seeking respite and to escape abusive relationships. These shelters would support the victims of domestic violence to restore their lives.”
The party said it recognises the “Coalition’s strategic planning and management” of the economy while in Government, which resulted in the swift emergence of our oil and gas industry and first oil by December 2019.
To this end, the AFC – a minority party in the Opposition Coalition, said that it is time for all Guyanese to enjoy the benefits of the oil and gas sector and not the unequal allocations we have seen, which “makes the rich in our society richer.”
“The cries of our ordinary citizens of the high cost of living confirms that they are not seeing the improvements directly in their pockets. Budget 2023 has the power to change that,” the party concluded.
Budget 2023 will be the fourth to be presented by the People’s Progressive Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Administration since assuming office in August 2020.
The Finance Ministry had said that this year’s Budget would see critical development programmes for Government being fast-tracked and many more expanded.