Categorized | National News

Flowers Pushes 8 Per Cent Tax For Web Shops

FML Web Shops President Craig Flowers has suggested that the government consider eight per cent as a reasonable rate to tax web shops when the industry is regularised this summer.

Mr. Flowers, who spoke to the Journal while in Haiti on Saturday where he opened a new web shop, said the government should use the same tax rate that is being used in Haiti.

He called this tax rate by the Haitian government reasonable as a starter amount noting that as the revenue returns come in, the rate will be reassessed.

“The government made it very obvious to us that the numbers will be revisited and dealt with more appropriately once they would have had the opportunity to see the numbers what are being generated and the statistics from these games and the impact from these games,” Mr. Flowers said.

Mr. Flowers is reluctant to publicly comment on the regularisation issue instead urging patience and allowing the government time to present all the details of its proposed legislation to the Bahamian people. However, he insisted that in the end, the government will do what is in the best interest of the country.

While he is opened to consultation with the government on regulating the industry, Mr. Flowers said he first wants to allow the government the opportunity to do what it needs to do.

“It’s not happening at a pace or a rate at which we would like to see it and these things happen, but it is happening,” he said. “It’s only fair for us. I have committed myself not to speak about the events that are happening in The Bahamas because no one is really in a position to preempt the government because they are the authority and we must be respectful as it relates to the way forward on this matter.”

However, Mr. Flowers said the government must recognise the impact and long term benefits of the web shop industry and he maintained that the industry could soon surpass casinos in The Bahamas, even foreshadowing a takeover.

“I have said to so many of the other diplomats and politicians years ago that we are in a position to replace Sol Kerzner and Atlantis and I honestly do believe that we have the expertise and the wherewithal. Technology is going to make it possible for us do this in very short order,” he said.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchombe who is also responsible for gaming in the country, said recently that while the government is engaged in talks with operators to hear their recommendations, he assured that web shop bosses will not make decisions on regulations.

Mr. Flowers told the Journal that he is most interested in ensuring that the Bahamian people full control over the industry and are a placed in a position to benefit from its regulation.

“I’d like to see the autonomy of the industry remain in the hands of Bahamians,” he said. “I’d like to see that that it makes more Bahamians wealthy from the proceeds and give Bahamians the opportunity to compete.”

Mr. Wilchombe has indicated that web shops will regularised by July 1. The proceeds from the industry are expected to pump tens of millions of dollars into the Bahamian economy and create thousands of jobs.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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