The United Republican Party continues to watch and listen

The United Republican Party continues to watch and listen to the dog fight that is prevailing over the 2017 proposed budget. What we the citizens of Guyana know is that for decades all the proposed budgets have served to do was further impoverish the poor, and make the wealthy wealthier. How can a government ask the Guyanese citizens to tighten their belts? How can they – the administrators – ask us to make further cuts? What is there to tighten? What else is there to cut? We are so frustrated in this country that we are killing ourselves more than in any other country.

We are the dog-poorest and most disrespected in this hemisphere. What more are they asking us to do? And it is not even like they are setting the example.
We see absolutely no scaling back on their perks, or benefits, or luxurious life styles. The current and past government beat up on the poor citizens of Guyana, forcing us to band our bellies and starve ourselves, while they continue to live their fat-cat lives, with their bloated salaries, air-conditioned SUV’s, full time maids and entertainment allowances.
And who is looking out for the poor man? The Prime Minister was cruel enough to admit that the unregulated business sector will continue to poke out the eyes of the ordinary citizens. He said the list of VAT exempt items has been “significantly expanded” but he doubted, given previous experience with the business sector, that any price reduction would be realized. What Mr. Nagamootoo is saying is that his government will do absolutely nothing to stop the uncouth and unethical behaviors of the unregulated business practices in Guyana.
What is even more mind boggling is that the Prime Minister and 1st Vice President actually admitted that the businesses in Guyana will increase the prices on the items to match the 2% VAT reduction, so that there will literally be no benefit to the Guyanese patrons. He said, “This has been a bone of contention because every time we reduce VAT, the prices don’t go down.” One would think that given this long established trend, somewhere in the budget there would have been a clause that would make this practice criminal or illegal. But a backward, unsympathetic, Government will never be that insightful and proactive.
In fact the business community is clear that they will pass any additional cost on to the customer. The word out of the business association is this, “By changing these products from zero rated to exempt means no tax would be charged, as this is now deemed an exempt supply. Because it becomes an exempt supply rather than a taxable supply (at 0%), cannot help but pass these charges to customers. The bottom line is that, as a result of the budget, local products will become more expensive”.

The average Guyanese do not make a living wage. Anyone living in Guyana, who is meeting their financial commitments and having some amount of disposable income, is doing so because they are receiving remittances from abroad, or they are finding creative (many times, illegal) ways to supplement their salaries.
The wage agreements are still yet not settled. One would have taught that the fledgling government would have used this budget to gain some traction and goodwill from the masses, instead what we got was more austere measures, designed to cause us pain.
I would like to hear the President associate his mantra of The Good Life, with this budget proposal.
One of the problems with this administration is that they have a lot of bark and no bite. They know full well that the business community will hold on to the saving in the reduction of VAT on consumer items, so they have sought to make sure they pad the treasury by now introducing VAT on water and light. So rather than the average, hardworking, impoverished Guyanese getting a break, and seeing a reduction in our spending, we are now bigger losers because of this budget.
Additionally, because there are no power brokers in the Parliament, the budget will get the green light, despite the fact that it will hurt the majority of the Guyanese working class.
What the URP is agitating for is a counter balance between the two main parties in the Parliament. We as Guyanese cannot continue to allow the two major parties to so dominate the political landscape of Guyana. They are stagnating the country. They continue, unabated, with their roughshod of financial ineptness and budgetary cruelty.
The URP would like our fellow Guyanese to understand that if we really want to experience a better country, then come next election, we have to be more broad base in their thinking and voting.