A letter from C.V. Bethel High School that urged parents to submit payments for The Bahamas General Certificate Secondary Education (BGCSE) before the end of December or face the additional cost of Value Added Tax (VAT) to the payment has been dismissed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) as untrue.
The letter dated November 13, shown to be signed by the school’s Vice Principal B. Adderley-Rolle encouraged parents and guardians to ensure that the payment is made before the foresaid date to avoid the additional cost.
“It has come to the attention of the Minister of Education, Science and Technology that one of the Ministry’s school officials disseminated information that is inaccurate and untrue,” the statement read.
“We wish to clarify this matter and assure the public that the information circulating in the public domain regarding the addition of VAT to school related fees is unequivocally false. According to the information being circulated, it is purported that VAT will be added to National Examination Fees if not paid before December 31, 2014. We wish to confirm that no such charges will be applied and that fees will remain the same after the stated date.”
The ministry further assured it will do whatever is necessary to ensure that all school officials both public and independent are well informed of the VAT Act and its implications on educational services.
Prior to the statement from MOE, many on social media expressed outrage, dismay and questioned whether or not the letter was fake.
The Bahama Journal contacted the school’s vice principal over the phone, however she declined the comment.
As the letter continued to fuel debate on social media, the Ministry of Finance also released a brief statement in an effort to set the record straight regarding VAT and national examinations.
“Pursuant to regulation nine of the Value Added Tax Regulations 2014, VAT will not be charged on tuition cost for any course of study in a preschool, primary or secondary school,” the statement read.
“It therefore means that national examinations such as the Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) or BGCSE will not be subject to VAT.”
VAT will come on stream at a rate of 7.5 per cent on January 1.