It wasn’t me; it was the GRA – Finance Minister

first_imgRevised steel taxesThe Finance Ministry, under the hand of Finance Minister Winston Jordan, over the weekend attempted to rubbish an article, which pointed to an increase in the import taxes to be paid for the importation of steel, saying the decision was not initiated by himself, but rather the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) – the Government’s tax collection agency under his Ministry.Finance Minister Winston JordanJordan on Saturday – three days after Guyana Times carried a report – issued a public statement which said the Finance Ministry noted with absolute disgust a report in Guyana Times titled, “Govt hikes taxes on steel imports”, August 11, 2016.According to the article, as published by this newspaper, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Irfaan Ali said, “Finance Minister Winston Jordan circulated on Wednesday a correspondence with [sic] brokers and other relevant stakeholders, indicating that the tariff (taxes) charged for the importation of steel into Guyana would be doubled, since it has been increased from five per cent to 10 per cent.”Jordan has since said the Finance Ministry “categorically rejects this accusation and wishes to make clear that the Minister of Finance, [Winston] Jordan, has not circulated any correspondence indicating any increase in tariffs for the importation of steel.”The Ministry said too it, “wishes to make clear that there has been no increase in the tariffs associated with the importation of steel.”In seeking to offer clarification, the Ministry has since indicated that it is the Quality Review Section of the GRA, responsible for examining customs declarations for valuation, classification and volume discrepancies, which identified anomalies in relation to the importation of alloy steel by several businesses in Guyana.According to the Finance Ministry, “After a review of the evidence presented, together with the Chapter Notes of the Common External Tariff (CET) and Explanatory Notes, it was determined that most of the Tariff Headings applicable to the type of steel commonly imported would attract a rate of import duty of 10 per cent, instead of five per cent.”Minister Jordan still contends however that, it is mindboggling that Ali could engage in such dishonesty which can only be interpreted as an attempt to create unfounded hysteria within the business community to score cheap political points and impugn the integrity of the Finance Minister.In his attempt to offer clarification, the Minister said he neither circulated nor initiated any correction to the applicable rate of import duty; rather it was the agency responsible for the collection of the country’s taxes – the GRA.He said “importers who wish to contest the alloy content of the imported steel and the duties applied by the Customs Department could use the usual channels, including appeals to the Commissioner General, GRA and the Customs Tribunal.”last_img

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