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…as GTUC says it is void of consultationsThe 2009 National Budget, aimed at restarting and sustaining growth in ways that are achievable and attainable in the context of the global challenges, will be presented to the nation today in the National Assembly.Finance Minister, Dr Ashni SinghBut, according to the Guyana Trades Union Congress, the budget was prepared without any consultation, as is customary in previous years.This is according to acting General Secretary of the Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), Norris Witter, who, in a recent press briefing, said that notwithstanding the non consultation, the union was hopeful that there would be announced an: Increase in the Income Tax threshold from $35,Wholesale Authentic Jerseys,000 to $75,000 per month; Increase in Government Old Age Pension from $6,300 to $14,000; Reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax) from 16 per cent to six percent.“This is not an abandonment of the GTUCs demand for a repeal of the VAT Act in preference to comprehensive tax reform.” The GTUC also wants to see zero rating of all wheat products, such as bread,Cheap Jerseys From China, tennis rolls, roti, puri, pastries and other basic items, and the provision for salaries and wages’ increases for teachers, doctors, nurses, men and women in uniform, and public servants, among others.According to Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh, the budget has been crafted in light of the difficult global environment and is strategically planned to encompass and help mitigate implications of the global economic downturn.Dr Singh is on record as saying that, because of the nature of the Guyanese economy,NFL Jerseys Clearance, some of the local sectors have been showing encouraging resilience to the global issues but, despite this,NHL Ice Hockey Jerseys, policies will remain firmly focused on engendering economic growth.President Bharrat Jagdeo had announced during the first press briefing for 2009 that this year’s budget should be even larger than last year’s, and that the increased Government spending is aimed at creating more jobs and at offsetting what he described as an impending financial downturn.On October 8 last year, President Jagdeo said, “I am not afraid of the immediate impact on our financial sector. What I am more concerned about is the impact on the rest of our economy, because if credit dries up around the world, local investment companies can be delayed.” At the time, he was commenting on the global financial crisis that had gripped the world.“The financial situation is going to have major implications for countries like ours. Fortunately,NFL Jerseys Outlet, here in Guyana, because we have a provincial type of banking system, we are not heavily integrated into the world’s capital, money or bonds markets.“We are isolated from the impact. If our banks were investing large sums of money in these markets, they would have been affected.“Similarly, if Guyanese were investing heavily in the stock exchanges, they would have seen significant losses; but because just a small part of our portfolio has been invested in these markets,NFL Jerseys Wholesale, our banking systems remain essentially sound. So we may be isolated from that immediate impact.”He said that despite the worldwide difficulties to access funding, such projects were important to the future of Guyana.“So we have to do some financial engineering to make them go forward.”At the press conference, the Head of State said that most countries in the developing world are predicting negatively for 2009 as it relates to economic growth. He pointed to the fact that several sectors in Guyana were reliant on international prices.He noted that the prices have already been declining, and there will be an impact locally. Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product is primarily dependent on exports, and the prices for commodities on the international markets have been declining, due to reduced demand.The President said that Guyana was projecting a positive economic future, unlike the developed world where countries are projecting otherwise, and this year focus will be placed on large projects that will be important for Guyana’s future. On February 22, 2008, Minister Singh presented a record $119.3B budget in the National Assembly.