Finance Minister, Winston Jordan announced yesterday that there have been some minor changes to the Value-Added Tax Amendment Bill.
Fortunately, Jordan said, the changes only spell more good news for the Guyanese people, as VAT is expected to be removed from all types of flour.
During his 2015 budget speech presentation, the Finance Minister had said that while VAT will not be reduced entirely or across the board until a review on its feasibility and impact is completed, a number of food items in the interim, will attract zero VAT.
These he listed to be: yogurt, cereals, fresh carrots, milo and ovaltine, nestum, mustard and mayonnaise, locally-produced fruit juice, locally-made chowmein, vinegar, locally-made uncooked pasta, ketchup, chicken sausages in packets, locally-produced Chinese sauce, baking powder, household cleaning agents, rolls of paper towel, liquid detergent and computer printers for non commercial use.
At the post cabinet press briefing which was held at the Ministry of the Presidency, Jordan said that the Bill will not include locally produced fruit juice.
The politician said that after his budget presentation, he received calls from various persons who cautioned him about using the term “locally produced” fruit juice, for under the Treaty of Chaguaramas, it constitutes discrimination against other regional companies from which Guyana imports a variety of juices.
The Finance Minister said that since the country imports more juice than it exports, the item was removed all together.
He said that to compensate for the juices being removed from the list, biscuits were added and after a discussion with representatives from the local flour industry, it was agreed that all types of flour will no longer attract VAT.