On Thursday May 8, 2008, the PPP Administration has summoned the National Assembly to pass a Motion for the Parliament to, “take(s) note of the impact of Global rising food prices on the cost of living in Guyana and supports the interventions taken by the Government to cushion the impact of these global price increases on our population, especially for the vulnerable groups….”
The Government is obviously under the illusion that Guyanese are happy with the present state of affairs. We believe that unless the people of Guyana make their voices heard, the Government will continue to do nothing significant to ease their plight.
All Guyanese are experiencing the harsh affects of the spiraling cost of living. The prices of rice, flour, cooking oil, bread, split peas, cassava, plantain and other ground provisions are so high that workers can barely feed themselves and their families. Parents find it difficult to prepare the lunch kits for their children, much more purchasing other necessities.
Last year, inflation was 32%, while increase in wages was only 9%. The 2008 National Budget has offered no relief to the suffering workers, yet the government plans to spend billions of dollars of Guyanese taxpayers money on entertainment for Carifesta X.
The Government wants Guyanese to accept our sad state of affairs with a smile because food prices are rising worldwide. It is, however, the government’s responsibility to implement programmes to ease workers of their miserable plight. The zero rating of basic food items still forces us to pay 16% VAT on manufactured food items. For example, flour prices have increased by more than 75% and will be further increased. Government will therefore continue to rake in millions more in taxes while reeking havoc on our daily lives.
It is therefore time for all Guyanese to let the Government know that we are dissatisfied with the rising cost of living and demand that they do something substantial to relieve us from our pain. We need to demand immediate measures such as:
· the payment of a cost of living allowance for all workers;
· raising the income tax threshold to $75,000;
· the reduction of VAT to 8%;
· the removal of VAT from all manufactured food items;
· rationalization of electricity and water rates;
· an increase in the minimum wages by at least 50%
These are only some of the measures needed immediately. Unless we tell the Government what we want they will do nothing and tell the world that Guyanese are happy. You can play a very important role in helping the government understand your plight by joining the peaceful Cost of Living Demonstration on Thursday May 8.
Your organization is therefore invited to join the Cost of Living March which starts at 1:00 pm at the junction of Mandela Avenue and Durban Street. You are free to bring along your own banners and placards. Walk with your empty pots, spoons and pans and let your voices be heard. Your members’ voices are important or we will have no one else to blame when the Government continues to do nothing to relieve our suffering.
Encourage your members to join the march and let your voices be heard.