…during meeting with business communityPresidential candidate for the People’s Progressive Party, Irfaan Ali, continued his nationwide outreach on Saturday; this time in the ancient county, where he met with the business community before a grand rally in Port Mourant, Berbice.Ali, accompanied by Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo, sat down with business owners at the Central Corentyne Chamber of Commerce (CCCC) building in Rose Hall for a near three-hour engagement.Presidential candidate for the PPP, Irfaan Ali and Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo chat with a section of the Berbice business community on SaturdayAddressing the businessmen, Ali, an economist, said when the party returns to Office, it will put measures in place which will see disposable income in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) if the party is to return to office. He noted that they will reverse all tax measures implemented by the coalition Government that is causing hardships for the business community.The presidential candidate added that disposable income was plucked out of the region’s economy with sugar and rice sectors going downhill. Oil, he noted, will bring some relief to the region.“… All improvements that we had seen has reversed over the last three years and where is the Government getting revenues from, through taxation. So what we are seeing is that tax revenues from VAT (Value Added Tax) has increased from $37.3 billion to $48.4 billion and that is only in VAT revenues. We have a situation now where the Government has not been able to grow any sectors, has not been able to create wealth in any of the productive sectors; the entire productive sector is on the decline, so the only source of revenue is actually taxation. Hence, the disposal income – the money available to be spent in the economy – has declined significantly as a result of the tax measures,” Ali posited.He went on to say that these plans include the construction of a deep-water harbour in Region Six, the spin-off from which will benefit sectors such as transhipment, construction and broker services. Additionally, Ali noted that the development of ICT in Berbice is also in the cards and this will not only create hundreds of employment opportunities but there will be easy financing available.Further, the presidential candidate hopeful posited, however, that they cannot ignore the existing industries that once thrived in the region such as rice and sugar. To this end, Ali reiterated his party’s promise of reopening the sugar estates that were shut down by the current administration, while highlighting plans to diversify the sector.Speaking to the business sector, Ali asserted that the region’s economy has tumbled because of Government’s uninspiring policy and framework that has impacted negatively on Berbice businesses. Increased taxes and the lack of incentives and subsidies are among the factors, he said, that killed commercial activities in the region.“Going on to four years now in the Government and they are not able to lay a development plan out or share it with the population so we don’t know what direction the Government is going into. But we in the PPP have honoured, always, developed and communicated a clear strategy. Businessmen need predictability; they need to understand where the country is heading, where the opportunities will be and how they can have access to those opportunities that will arise in the future,” Ali posited.Meanwhile, Jagdeo also interacted with the business community, fielding questions from and lending assurances to the businessmen. Also present at the engagement was Regional Chairman David Armogan, who lamented the state of affairs in the region to the party leaders.