Reduce high duties on educational materials
Stabroek News
April 17, 2002

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Dear Editor,

Since 1996 I have been writing several government agencies appealing to them to reduce the consumption tax/duties on educational materials. Unfortunately, this has fallen on deaf ears. Letters were sent to the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance (Mr. Jagdeo) and recently to Mr. Jagdeo as the President of Guyana. The most I got was a written acknowledgment of my letters.

The taxes on educational games, puzzles, toys, software, cassettes (video and audio) are astronomically high. The irony of the situation is that the Ministry of Education provides a requisition/book lists to parents every year for them to obtain the said materials. When importers bring in these materials they have to pay the cost which is subsequently passed on to the consumer.

As a mother and an advocate for education I must register my deep dismay that our policy maker's interest is so narrow. There are other materials that taxation can be increased on. Who needs Sara Lee cake and all the prepackaged foods that are now in our supermarkets? What about Cadbury chocolates, increase the tariff on these materials. Their only contribution to humankind is to encourage obesity. What about imported alcohol, we have enough brewed locally to poison the people of Guyana.

Yours faithfully,

Karen Bacchus