Categorized | National News

FNM Leaders Call For Church’s Protection Against VAT

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis is calling on the Church to protect Bahamians against a tax policy that he is convinced with further burden them and remove the hope of a better life.

Dr. Minnis was referring to the government’s proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) that will be introduced at a rate of 7.5 per cent next year. The initial plan was to implement VAT at 15 per cent.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie has however explained that due to VAT’s reduced rate, there would be fewer exemptions.

The Free National Movement (FNM) staunchly opposes VAT, charging that it will only deepen poverty in The Bahamas.

In fact, it is one of several reasons why the party opted to vote against the 2014/2015 budget.

“We do not believe governments should rip their economies and people with unnecessary taxation,” Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Carl Bethel said during his contribution to the new fiscal plan.

“…We’re taking a stand for what in our view is right, just, the correct thing to do, honourable, principle and in the best interest of the Bahamian people, that’s why we are voting no. In voting no, we are setting the record straight. We are stating our opposition to the imposition of a cross the board regressive tax, which will drive more Bahamians into poverty and will negatively affect an already weak and struggling economy.”

The Opposition leader’s call for the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) to take a stand against VAT came during its installation service for new officers on Tuesday evening.
Ranford Patterson was returned as president.
Archdeacon James Palacious was elected Vice President.
At the time, Dr. Minnis also called on the BCC to be relentless for accountability, honesty and transparency.
“In the new Bahamas – all are equal, there is no differences based on who you are and who you know. We must all pay our taxes, pay our utility bills, pay our Customs duties — so that the Bahamas does not follow a path similar to Greece, where the country faced bankruptcy due to tax evaders, dishonest politicians and a culture of corruption,” he said.
Dr. Minnis added that the Christian Council must also play an integral role in helping to shape the minds and attitudes of Bahamians, particularly “Generation Next.”
“If we are to realize the dream of our forebears of becoming a great nation, founded on and guided by our unwavering belief and adherence to Christian values.
The FNM Chief went on to acknowledge there still exists a separation of church and state, but that it very important for both to work hand in hand, particularly in areas such as education, social and community programmes.

“Continued social transformation cannot succeed without a partnership between church and state. I look forward to working with these new officers of this venerable body, representing the member organizations of believers in Christ,” he said.

“..To truly achieve the goal of building a great nation and dealing with the many challenges facing our country, all leaders, political and religious, must work together. As a leader in this beautiful nation, we call The Bahamas; I know that an informed citizenry is our best tool in the arsenal of effective nation building. Proverbs 24:5 reads “A wise man is strong and is better than a strong man and, a man of knowledge increases and strengthens his power”.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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