GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Leader of the opposition People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR), Aubrey Norton, on Tuesday called on the government to urgently put measures in place to help Guyanese cushion the rising cost of living in the country.
“Had the government followed the PNCR’s advice and developed a people-centered approach, Guyanese today would have had more money to offset rising prices,” Norton told a news conference.
He said the PNCR, the biggest party in the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) had advised “for example, increasing the 2022 salary of public servants by over 25 per cent, raising the minimum wage and tax threshold”.
He said the party had also called for the removal of personal income tax for low-wage earners, providing a generous risk allowance to frontline workers, and guaranteeing all households a minimum liveable income.
“Such measures would have helped considerably, ”Norton said, noting that while the PNCR is cognisant that the world is experiencing inflation, it remains concerned that the Guyana government has not been moving to implement policies and programmes that will address the situation and bring Norton acknowledged that the measures outlined by the PNCR would not be enough in a situation of high inflation, they would have nonetheless cushioned the ill effects of the rising cost of living and the decreasing real income of the people of Guyana.
“Recently, the price of flour increased by 15 per cent; cooking gas has reached GUY$5 700 (One Guyana dollar=US$0.008 cents) a cylinder, and prices at the pump have jumped as much as 20 per cent.
“These are only a few examples of the desperate situation our less fortunate citizens find themselves in,” Norton told reporters , adding that the Irfaan Ali government should consult with the Opposition to chart a way forward on the issue of the high cost of living.
“Failure to consult with an Opposition that represents at least half of Guyana’s population would only be further evidence that the One Guyana policy is nothing short of a cruel joke.
“It is more worrying when it is noted the PPP/C (People’s Progressive Party Civic) recent history of discriminating in the distribution of COVID-19 Relief and Flood Relief. The PNCR calls on the PPP/C government to end their divisive politics and treat all Guyanese as equal,” Norton said.
He told the news conference that the PNCR will be closely monitoring the distribution of the five billion dollars allocated in the 2022-23 national budget to address the cost of living problems. (CMC)