Categorized | Featured, National News

PM: “No New Tax”

By Licec Bastian

In response to the Official Opposition’s claim that the Davis administration intends to make amendments to the Customs Management Act (CMA) giving tax powers to the minister responsible, Prime Minister Philip Davis has reiterated that “there will be no new tax” imposed on the Bahamian people.

The prime minister told reporters as much on the side-lines of the opening of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Consumer Affairs and Consumer Protection Commission Building on Monday.

Back in January of this year, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Michael Darville stated that his ministry has plans to implement new legislation that will create a tax for sugar as he stressed the importance of health and wellness in the fight against the high instances of non-communicable diseases in the country, based on a 2019 STEPS survey.

He also noted that the draft legislation was complete.

However, supporting bills to Prime Minister Davis’ 2023/2024 budget, particularly the CMA gives the Minister of Finance, after consultation with the Minister of Health, the power to levy a health and wellness tax on the importation of specific goods and domestically manufactured goods that may have a negative impact on health and wellness.

Prime Minister Davis, however asserted that the tax would not be introduced in the near future.

“There will be no new taxes at this time. No!  

“We are attempting to cause Bahamians to understand what sugar is to their health. We have put a framework in place to determine whether it will be done, but nothing is happening with that [and] it’s not going to happen any time soon,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister as he acknowledged that his administration is looking into a framework to introduce a tax on sugar, said the aim is to encourage the decrease of sugar consumption all in an effort to combat non-communicable diseases in the country, particularly diabetes.

“We are talking to the industry to see how we are able to lessen sugar in the ingredients for sodas, etc. because the stats have shown that it is one of the significant contributors to the non-communicable diseases, something that this country is struggling with.

“[But] no, that is not going to be done this year. I don’t see it coming very soon either,” Prime Minister Davis said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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