Categorized | National News

Debate Over VAT Intensifies


In a heated exchange in the House of Assembly yesterday, Marathon Member of Parliament (MP) Jerome Fitzgerald sought to defend the government on the controversy surrounding its expenditure of value added tax (VAT).


Mr. Fitzgerald sounded off by stating that it does not take a rocket scientist to see where the VAT money is going.


“Vat represents 25 percent of government revenue. Import tax 13 percent, excise 11 percent, property tax six percent, other fees and services 11 percent. Twenty-five percent of our government revenue comes from VAT. This is no rocket science. It was laid out in the budget debate. So 25 cents out of everything the government spends on comes from VAT. What’s so hard about that? A grade one student can understand that. All the teachers, all of the people who are employed by government, Bahamasair Mr. Speaker, we subsidize Bahamasair,” Mr. Fitzgerald said.


Rebutting Mr. Fitzgerald’s points was East Grand Bahama MP Peter Turnquest who charged that the public’s question of how the VAT money is spent is in fact legitimate.

He added that the public as well as the Opposition have the right to challenge what has been explained.

“You can’t stand here in this House and say that. You cannot say that you paid for these things what the Bahamian people know we borrowed money for. The Bahamian people have a right to ask the question. Where is the VAT money going? They want to know. If you didn’t do what you said, then what did you do with it,” Mr. Turnquest asked.

Backing up Mr. Turnquest was Fort Charlotte MP Dr. Andre Rollins, who said he was not all convinced of the government’s explanation on VAT expenditure, especially in regards to the funds being used for projects which were known to be financed by loans.


Dr. Rollins then got on his feet and argued that Mr. Fitzgerald’s explanation of where the VAT money is going is mathematically inaccurate.


The Fort Charlotte MP further charged that if Vat money was going towards loans and projects which Mr. Fitzgerald claimed, then the country’s deficit should not be in a billion dollar deficit.


“It’s a good thing the children are not here with us, because I am hurt that you as the Minister of Education do not know math. Yes, I am hurt,” Dr. Rollins told Mr. Fitzgerald.


The education minister refused to respond directly to Dr. Rollins’ sentiments, but he said the Opposition has used its intellect to confuse Bahamians on the issue.


During the exchange PLP MPs could be heard saying that the 25 percent Mr. Fitzgerald spoke of is going towards paying back loans.


State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis came under scrutiny from the Opposition after he addressed the issue of VAT expenditure during the PLP’s national convention last week.


Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie yesterday said the government will give a full report on VAT expenditure in short order.


Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook