—Says focus will be on economic expansion, increasing productivity and capacity building
Georgetown, Guyana—(January 25, 2022) His Excellency Dr Irfaan Ali has assured that Budget 2022 will in no way introduce new burdens or taxes on Guyanese people but rather will support the country’s transformative agenda.
“Budget 2022 would be people-centred and people-driven, focusing on policies and programmes that will continue the transformation of our country and expand and improve the delivery of services.”
The Head of State made this announcement during his pre-budget address to the nation this evening, where he pointed to several areas of focus, including economic expansion, increased productivity, enhanced competitiveness, stable macroeconomic fundamentals, capacity building and supporting a stronger private sector.
President Ali reminded that when the PPP/C assumed office, the immediate tasks were to restore the economy, address job loss, address the negative image of Guyana, and enhance the confidence level in the investment climate of the country.
“I am very pleased to say that we have been able to address all of these issues and place Guyana now in a stable environment in which international investors, sophisticated investors, and the local private sector are once again actively seeking out opportunities in our country”.
He reiterated that his administration has been able to make the point not only through narrative but through concrete measures that Guyana is not only about oil and gas but also about sustainable development.
PEOPLE DRIVEN POLICY AGENDA
He also disclosed that the policy agenda and measures in this year’s budget would be aimed and geared towards, among other objectives, increasing disposable income.
“And this is critical. We must have more disposable income available to the population. In Budget 2022, I have asked the Minister of Finance to include specific measures that will be geared at enhancing and improving your disposable income, ensuring that there is more money available to families, more money available in the economy.”
Additional measures include maintaining a low tax environment, expanding and creating job opportunities, better health care and educational services, greater public-private partnerships and greater support for the vulnerable.
“We have made a specific commitment as it relates to health care, education, children, women and the elderly; and all those commitments in the [PPP/C] manifesto will be realised.”
The President also announced that tremendous investment will be made to achieve more treated water coverage along the coastline and to reduce energy costs.
This he added, will bring more jobs, more industries, more companies and will expand the Guyanese economy.
He said too that the Government will be investing heavily in the hinterland and riverain communities.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND EXPANDED HOUSING
President Ali said that aggressive steps, through financing, will be taken in the budget to realise the construction of many new roads, highways, bridges and other key infrastructure to catalyse growth and development.
“These are strategic infrastructure, transformative infrastructure of high priority and great magnitude that Budget 2022 will be addressing. This is the year that will inject the fuel that will lead to the transformation we want to achieve and Budget 2022 will inject that fuel to catalyse the growth in an aggressive and forward-looking manner.”
In addition, he reiterated that housing continues to be a key pillar that will improve lives and enhance equity.
To this end, tremendous investments will be made in expanding new infrastructure to meet the target of 50,000 house lots as stated in the manifesto.
“We’ll also be investing heavily in industrial and manufacturing development to ensure that we create sustainable communities in which there is a match between community development and economic expansion and opportunities.”
The President added that specific measures will also be announced to boost the construction sector, enhance our efficiencies and create an enabling environment in which Guyanese can more easily acquire assets, equipment and machinery to boost their businesses.
SOCIAL SERVICES AND SECURITY
At the same time, he assured that Government will be investing heavily in healthcare to meet the promise of bringing world-class healthcare services to every citizen in our country.
“Budget 2022 will ensure children get more. I’ve instructed that specific measures be in the budget to enhance the welfare and well-being of children. We will set aside greater support for the elderly. We will accelerate our scholarship programme. We will support the vulnerable, create room for direct medical support for our population and enhance investments in the security sector through the use of technology and capacity building, whilst at the same time fulfilling our promise of better working conditions, welfare and equipment for men and women in the joint services.”
In the oil and gas sector, he noted that this year’s budget will set aside resources for the development and expansion of opportunities for locals through the implementation of the Local Content Bill in order to create more job opportunities, investment opportunities, wealth creation, training and education by integrating our oil and gas strategy with our national development plan, which is sustainable in nature.
“We have made it very clear that revenues from the oil and gas sector must be used to make the other sectors more competitive and must be utilised in a way to expand the economic framework of our country; to improve our competitiveness to enhance our sustainability, to build an economy that is standing on many different legs that can withstand global shocks, that can weather storms when they come.”
SIZEABLE ALLOCATION TO ADDRESS COST OF LIVING
Importantly, the Head of State announced that a specific, sizable allocation will be made to address the issue of the cost of living.
“We will continue to implement measures to reduce the cost of fuel. We will extend measures to address the issues of the cost of freight. Specific measures will be announced that will reduce the costs of borrowing for homeownership.”
He said too that he has also advised the Minister of Finance to look at the personal income tax of taxpayers and to make necessary adjustments in keeping with the budgetary framework, and the affordability of the country at this moment.
President Ali disclosed that the Budget aims to improve tax burdens on contractors and will specifically address taxes on double cab pickups and trucks.
“Fellow Guyanese, as your President, I stand on the eve of Budget 2022 to reaffirm our commitment in building a stronger, unified Guyana in which all of us, as Guyanese, will have a better quality of life and a better chance of enhancing our welfare.”