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Date: 23 Apr 18 10:07pm
Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Khurshid Sattaur, has announced that there was increased compliance to the tax system during last year. Last year the GRA engaged in activities to inform, educate and assist taxpayers to understand their rights, responsibilities and obligations with respect to the various tax acts and policies.The activities included conducting advisory and compliance visits to taxpayers and value added tax registrants.In addition, the GRA conducted seminars and information sessions for various stakeholder groups, Nike Shox Clearance, publishing policies, airing television programmes and infomercials.But, according to Sattaur, there were some challenges during the year.Among them were the late and non-filing of returns and failure of some businesses to issue tax invoices and remit tax, which led to the GRA seeking redress through the courts.The frequent interventions by the government to reduce the rate of tax applicable to petroleum products last year have resulted in a loss in revenue of in excess of $3.5B.However, the Commissioner General is optimistic about the performance of the agency.Last year as the price of fuel reached unprecedented heights, government adjusted the consumption tax on the product to enable Guyanese consumers to meet the high cost, especially for gasoline.The adjustments to the consumption tax during that period led to reduced revenue collection against that which was projected by the GRA.Despite this and other challenges, the Commissioner General described last year as a fairly successful one.In addition to the reduced revenue on petroleum products, other measures to offset cost of living impact from steep increases in the cost of consumer items, such as removing VAT from 32 additional items such as flour, posed significant challenges to the targets of the GRA.Several new initiatives were implemented as the organization focused on reorganising for greater efficiency and effectiveness.According to Sattaur, during last year the GRA was committed to change its organisational structure from one centered on type of tax to one centered on functions.The initiative formed part of the GRA component of the Government of Guyana/Millennium Challenge Corporation, Guyana Threshold Country Plan/Implementation Project.Under the two-year project, which commenced in January 2008, the GRA is receiving technical assistance to implement several tax reform measures aimed at improving the organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness in tax collection and revenue generation.Among the tax reform measures achieved include the implementation of a new functional type organisation; the establishment of a Tax Analysis Unit; development of a three year comprehensive training programme; and the establishment of an Intelligence and Risk Management Division.Also achieved were the establishment of a Debt Management Division, codification of tax laws, and the comprehensive review of the tax system.The implementation of the Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS) at the Internal Revenue Department which has resulted in greater efficiency in the administration of taxes is another major achievement.The Commissioner General also pointed out that an automated system was implemented at the Licence Revenue Office that is linked to TRIPS to process transactions, and utilizes new security enhanced certificates, licences and other documents.In 2008, the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) was also successfully implemented at the Internal Revenue Department, increasing the GRA’s effectiveness to monitor payments of taxes and the filing of returns by all taxpayers.According to the GRA, a large number of taxpayers have been registered and issued with TINs.In addition, a central data processing and registration unit was established within the Value Added Tax building where all tax registration, data entry and returns verification will be done.
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Date: 23 Apr 18 10:06pm
Forty seven-year-old taxi driver Nizam Khan, of lot 62 Soesdyke Public Road, was yesterday remanded to prison by Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson on a charge of causing death by dangerous driving, .It is alleged that Sunday last, at around 19:00hrs on Agricola Public Road, East Bank Demerara, Air Max 97 Undefeated Uk, Khan drove in a manner dangerous, thus causing the death of 50-year-old Douglas Forrester called “Briggie”, a resident of Agricola.Khan’s statement, which was presented by his attorney, indicated that the accused who is a taxi driver at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri, was travelling along the Agricola Public Road returning to the said location, when he saw Forrester on the side of the road using his cell phone.He indicated that he proceeded to caution Douglas by honking his horn. However Douglas became startled and ran into the vehicle’s path.Khan’s attorney further asserted that his client should be placed on bail due to the fact that he is married and a father of three.However, the prosecutor objected to bail, arguing that the defendant poses a flight risk.Khan was denied bail and is to return to court tomorrow.
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Date: 23 Apr 18 10:06pm
By Latoya Giles Prime Minister Sam Hinds, on Friday, stated that the opposition’s budget cut for the Guyana Power and Light puts the government and company in a very precarious situation. The Prime Minister hosted a press conference on Friday to discuss the likely outcome of the GPL budget being cut.Prime Minister Sam HindsAccording to the Prime Minister the allocations for GPL which have been cut, do two things. He stated that the funds replace the suppression in the tariffs. The prices charged by GPL are suppressed (every kilowatt) by about $12-$14.He noted that since the government is owner, it is called upon or is required to do upgrades and expansions for GPL.Hinds stated that the prices and costs are not expensive since they compare favourably with similar utilities in the Caribbean. He said that the prices are well within the lower half, debunking the notion that GPL is expensive.  “When we go out to buy fuel among other things which constitute 90 percent or more of the cost, we pay the same prices, ” the Prime Minister stated.According to the Prime Minister, GPL prices are very low compared to some of the other Caribbean countries. Hinds said that from the charts the government could show from 2003 to present that it has foregone $27B in revenue, by keeping the prices lower.According to the PM, prior to 2003 there were no foregone revenues as GPL implemented economic tariffs that were calculated in accordance with the company’s licence which sets out the allowable rates of return on equity and debt.Hinds noted that the next allocation from the budget is the need for investment to improve the operation, both equity and loan type. He said that although GPL arranges some amount of loans on its own, by not having a positive profitable flow, banks and institutions are constrained to make the loans. The loans, then, have to come through the government because of this.Hinds said that in the last four or five years, the peak demand for electricity has been growing in line with the growing economy and people’s rising standard of living. He said that the demand has risen so one has to put in the investment to deliver the required amount of megawatts. According to the PM the investment over the last five years, includes the transmission upgrade which includes seven new substations along with three expanding ones with a submarine cable across the Demerara River. The funding is coming from China.There was also a construction of a generating station at Versailles, which is about $6.4B.  He added that there was the installation of 36 megawatt of new generation which cost about $10B. There was also a programme from the IDB to counter electricity theft which has been about $1B.  Within the last five years, Hinds said, Government has had to put about $28B into GPL.According to Hinds, there is a $14B hole to be filled by the budget. He said that if that hole is not filled, who will fill it?He noted that there is a new generating station, which is near completion and it would be used to strengthen the network. The joint opposition cut some $10.2B in allocations under the Office of the Prime Minister targeting the expansion of the electrification programme. The GPL cut was some $5 B.Despite the warnings by Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh that the absence of this subsidy may force tariff increases, the Alliance for Change and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) went ahead with the cut.The Opposition MPs were not satisfied with the answers to their questions provided by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds. The Finance Minister’s appeals for them to do the right thing did not sway them.Speaker of the National Assembly Raphael Trotman, asked the Prime Minister to indicate what would be the possible effects of the cut and Mr. Hinds replied that it could possibly see the company purchasing less needed equipment and fuel.He explained that the fluctuating international price for fuel to keep the generation output of electricity stable was also catered for under the funding. PM Hinds pointed to GPL’s ongoing infrastructural development projects which he noted would be greatly hampered by the cuts.Head of GPL Bharat Dindyal had on Wednesday publicly pointed out that the institution currently has several major projects being executed simultaneously under a loan agreement between the Government of Guyana and China Exim Bank for the construction of, among other facilities, seven new substations which are expected to be completed by the end of this year.Three of these sub stations have been completed on the West Coast Demerara and others, Adidas Nmd r1 Pink, on the East Coast Demerara, are currently under construction along with almost 100 kilometers of 69 KV transmission lines.In highlighting the implications of the proposed cuts, Dindyal stated that if the projects are not completed this year, GPL will encounter serious problems in its ability to deliver services to supply the increased demand for electricity in Demerara and Berbice.As a state owned entity, the budgetary allocation to GPL’s customers is intended to help the company foot its ever increasing fuel bill which is expected to be over $24.7B this year. Capital allocations also finance upgrades and expansion of the utility company to meet the growing electricity demands of the country.
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Date: 23 Apr 18 10:06pm
A total of 381 workers from the Diamond Estate are to be paid their severance today at the Diamond Secondary School, says Komal Chand, President of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU).The workers, 375 of them GAWU members, and the remainder from the National Association of Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Employees (NAACIE), have been asking for severance pay since in 2009.With Diamond Estate closed, the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) had been using the harvesters to supply canes to the LBI Estate, East Coast Demerara.However, the harvesters have been clamouring for pay-offs.In October of that year, GAWU officially approached GuySuCo, signaling the intentions of the field workers to be paid off, but talks fell through and the union went to court.On May 17th, President Bharrat Jagdeo had met with the sugar workers at the Diamond Secondary School and announced that it will release $300M for the payout.Jagdeo told the gathering that the intervention was made because of the “the financial reality” of GuySuCo, which is in financial trouble.Jagdeo had acknowledged that the court matter would have taken too long to resolve the issue.Chand, who was also at the meeting in May, had also announced that GAWU was willing to withdraw the court matter once the payout was made.According to the union leader, yesterday, Cheap Air Jordan Shoes Wholesale, initially GuySuCo would have been paying the field workers who are currently on the payroll.“However, GAWU made representations to the Corporation and asked for workers who were on the job as at October 2009, when we started negotiations, to be included. These workers are part of the list they sent us last Thursday. We have seen it.”GuySuCo has been moving to create a lean operation since introducing a turnaround plan a few years ago.However, the going has been tough for the state-owned entity which faced a massive 36% price cut by the Europe Union and with falling workers’ attendance, the challenges have been mounting.Last year, the industry recorded one of its worst performances in two decades.While the first crop was the highest in eight years, it was still way off-target.This year, GuySuCo has set a 300, 000 tonne target but workers’ attendance has been again proving a major headache.
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Date: 23 Apr 18 10:06pm
Expressing how unimpressed it is with the provisions made in this year’s budget, the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) has identified recommendations needed to be implemented for the benefit of public servants.GPSU head, Patrick Yarde, reiterated calls for policy implementations which he said are needed to ease the woes of public servants. Previously, he spoke on the policies of state sectors which he believes seem to squander taxpayers’ money and making survival for state workers overbearing.GPSU President Patrick Yarde“There is an obsession by the Government to depreciate permanent and sustainable jobs in the Public Service and replace them with contracted employees.”Speaking about an apparent influx of contract workers, Yarde said, “Their policy of undermining workers’ security of tenure as well as the implicit institutional memory of public service personnel is shortsighted, narrow and anti national. This backward political approach in dealing with the essential national workforce must be eradicated.”On the issue of public sector modernization, the union head insisted that funds be made available to continue and complete the Public Sector Modernisation Project with specific focus on certain areas.“This is an enlightened and scientific way to develop and maintain access to quality public service that is relevant and supportive to the consumer needs and broad base national development, ” Yarde posited.There needs to be more job creation, he suggested. “Initiating projects that would contribute to creating sustainable and quality jobs should be primary focal point of all national budgets which must have as main feature initiatives encouraging entrepreneurship and self employment facilitation and development.”“The GPSU believes that it is shameful that after working for so many years in persistent poverty, senior citizens and retirees should be condemned to abject poverty, while in retirement.GPSU had proposed for inclusion since Budget 2012, provisions for a minimum increase of 50 percent on all pensions payable by the State, while indicating that the NIS be encouraged to do likewise.Further, the GPSU is of the view that the “Termination of Employment and Severance Pay (Amendment) Act No. 7 of 1999”should be repealed and provisions of the original “Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act No. 19 of 1997” be fully reinstated.Action should also be taken to amend the Pensions Act, Chapter 27:02 to enable public service workers to earn gratuities and/or pensions, should they offer their resignation after a minimum of seven years service.”Yarde reiterated that the income tax threshold should be $100, 000 per month; the income tax rate should be reduced from 33.3 percent to 20 percent on taxable income.“There should be a non-taxable allowance of $40, 000 per month for dependants, especially to facilitate the delivery of proper care and upbringing of our youth. This should be manifested in a practical, realistic and tangible manner and not the lip service approach as is the case.”Yarde continued that, “There should be a non-taxable allowance of seventy five thousand dollars $75, 000 per month for students who are dependants and are pursuing tertiary level, ” such as the University of Guyana, Government Technical Institute etc.Value Added Tax (VAT), Yarde urged, should be reduced to eight percent. In this regard, Cheap Air Jordan Shoes Wholesale, it should be noted that all the political parties currently in Parliament made 2011 Elections campaign Manifesto promises to review the VAT. “This is the second Budget since the election and Government is still to satisfy its promise of a VAT review.“Allocations should be made for the payment of increment in the Public Service facilitating upward movement in pay bands and thus eliminating bunching of all employees at the minimum of the salary scales. This would go a far way to boosting workers’ morale and create a basis for improving efficiency and productivity.”
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