Categorized | Business, National News

VAT Legislation To Protect Poor

The implementation of value added tax (VAT) will assist with the poverty level in the country as well as unemployment, according to Financial Secretary, John Rolle.

Mr. Rolle addressed reporters yesterday on some of the positives that will come out of the new taxation system.

“We have to protect the poor,” he said.

“That is a prerequisite and is always required when you have this type of reform and you will see the government discussing extensively the kind of responses that will target the poor. In a rollout of reforms such as this one you always want to protect those that are most vulnerable. Our expectation is that the resources that the government will take in as a result of VAT will allow the government to redirect even more resources to the poor.”

He said the once VAT is implemented, the government will be able to put more funding into programmes that assist the poor.

“In the case of what’s ahead of us, it is unlikely that because the government has to put more resources into assisting those less fortunate, that this is a permanent situation,” Mr. Rolle said.

“As a matter of fact, the government will have to spend the most with those who are most at risk and are exposed during the first year that VAT is implemented and in subsequent years the government will be able to reduce the added expenditure on those programmes because what we have ahead of us is a reform that’s going to be positive for the economy. It will allow the private sector to be in a more vibrant position to look at investment and employment.”

Mr. Rolle said VAT will “have a positive impact on the economy.”

In a press release on Sunday, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Deputy Leader, Chris Mortimer even questioned Prime Minister Perry Christie’s motives for wanting to implement a new value added tax system without properly consulting Bahamians.

He also questioned whether the prime minister believes that “taxing the local web shop industry would eliminate the need for VAT.”

“We challenge Prime Minister Perry Christie to use his moral compass; his twin pair of courage and conviction along with his significant majority in the House of Assembly to legalise, regulate and tax this industry,” Mr. Mortimer said.

Prime Minister Christie has said the implementation of VAT may be delayed if the government is convinced the public is not properly educated about it.

The government was expected to host a series of workshops for businesses on Wednesday.

Yesterday, a town meeting will be held for the general public and consumers.

Both events were scheduled to be held at Workers House.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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