Guyana addressing rising cost of living- President Ali

President Irfaan Ali of Guyana says his Government will have a national consultation on the best options to address the rising cost of living, with the intent of easing financial difficulties on Guyanese.

At a meeting with a cross-section of stakeholders in Georgetown, he said this would allow for open and frank discussions in addressing “this multifaceted problem that we are faced with”.

He was addressing the global challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, which are now heightened by the Russian-Ukrainian crisis.

“So as if COVID-19 was not enough, the war in Ukraine came upon us, taking out close to 40% of global wheat production, taking the price of oil to as much as $126 per barrel, driving up the costs of transportation and cutting off supplies.”

Ali assured that the government was “aggressively” tackling the issues and examining the best approaches.

“We have already started discussions, and the Government will be continuing that aggressively with a cross-section of Guyanese and communities so that we can come up with the best possible approach.

“We will be listening to ideas, listening to some of the connected issues and then coming up with some policies.”

He explained that nearly 5billion Guyanese dollars has been earmarked in the 2022 Budget towards various interventions aimed at easing the burden of the rising cost of living.

Earlier this month, the president gave the assurance that dealing with issues affecting the cost of living was at the top of his Government’s agenda and was being tackled head-on.

Since taking office, the Government had introduced several measures to put more disposable income into the pockets of Guyanese.

From the onset, Value Added Tax (VAT) was removed from water and electricity.

There has also been a constant increase in old-age pension and public assistance, which in 2022 put 2.3billion dollars and 432million dollars into the pockets of Guyanese.

Additionally, the government reinstated the ‘Because we Care’ cash grant and school uniform grant, which stands at 30,000 dollars per child in both public and private schools.

The Government also cut excise tax on fuel on several occasions in light of rising fuel prices.

“We have reduced it to a point where I think it’s at 10% …so that has been continuously done without anyone calling for that…,” he said.(NAN)

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