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The  Opposition’s Shadow Minister of Finance, Chester Cooper says, “The Free National Movement  is shamefully pilling taxes and fines on the backs of the poor and a struggling middle class to simply appease ratings agencies and the International Monetary  Fund.”

He  added that, “the FNM is disgracefully starving capital expenditure and neglecting infrastructure in order to hit a rigid target that no one in this country asked for.

“This madness is depriving Bahamians of needed services, all to mask the failure of this government’s revenue collection efforts,” said Mr. Cooper.

The Government is not getting any brownie points from the Opposition on how the Economy has shaped up in the first 9 months of the Fiscal Year.  In fact, the Progressive Liberal Party Deputy  Leader  is instead scolding the Minnis Administration for, despite having raised Value Added Tax (VAT) by 60 per cent, falling short of its forecast collection by hundreds of millions of dollars, a failure he deemed of  epic proportions. 

Mr. Cooper said,“the Minister of Finance knows full well that there is no windfall expected in the last few months of the budget year that will get them close to the target amount. It is clear, and apparent by their own admission, that this Administration botched rollout of the VAT increase and other taxes due to poor modelling, poor implementation, a lack of consultation and politically motivated exemptions.

“Whose fault is it that hotel and others were given a grace period to implement VAT because the government failure to understand many of their commitments were made with the understanding that VAT would not be hiked?” he asked.

 “Now the Minister of Finance suggests that next year, the Budget targets are expected to be met.  If they were so off with this budget exercise, why on earth would anyone believe they will craft a more realistic budget next year?

“Meanwhile, the continuous harping on the deficit to explain the Government’s fiscal policies is losing its shine.

“To top it off, recurrent expenditure is still up by $143 million. It appears that all the money saved by firing Bahamian people has still been squandered.  We wonder how many had to go without, only to have the Government spend money elsewhere.

“We thank the Government of The Bahamas for this level of reporting. It takes a certain courage to lay bare your failures in this manner.  What a sad indictment on a lost Administration.

“We will have much more to say on this Government’s fiscal failures in the upcoming, legally-mandated Budget Debate,” said the MP for Exuma and Ragged Island.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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