Categorized | National News

FNM, PLP Spar Over VAT

The two major political parties are locking horns over the proposed Value Added Tax (VAT) system with the Opposition Leader painting a dismal picture of want would happen if the government proceeds with its plan.

Free National Movement (FNM) Leader, Dr. Hubert Minnis insists implementing the VAT will seriously impair the country’s already weak, uncompetitive, and struggling economy, while harming and diminishing the quality of life of every Bahamian.

In a press release yesterday, Dr. Minnis further lambasted the government for its “callous disregard” to “stuff VAT down the throats of the Bahamian people, whether the people agree or not.”

“The vast majority of Bahamians – the business community, foreign investors, rank and file FNM and PLP supporters, throughout our country – are confused and terrified by the PLP government’s sudden lurch towards the imposition of the new VAT taxation system,” Dr. Minnis said.

“[It is] a regressive taxation system, which promises to subject the Bahamian people and economy to the immediate imposition of at least a 15 per cent levy across the board, and which has the almost certain potential to significantly and negatively increase the cost of living in every sphere upon the backs, particularly of the poorest Bahamians, and the long suffering and shrinking middle class.”

The FNM leader went further to urge the government to immediately “come clean” and explain what the circumstances are which have prompted this sudden “lurch” towards the imposition of VAT.

He is also pushing the Christie administration to immediately disclose to the public the details of any economic studies and analyses either by domestic or international advisors or agencies, which have led the government to this proposed course of action.

“The government must also disclose to Bahamians whether they have explored all potential alternatives available in order to expand the tax revenue base, and disclose any such reports, which have detailed alternative tax solutions, other than a VAT system stating why the government decided to propose VAT instead of the many alternative systems which could have been proposed,” the FNM leader said.

“The Free National Movement also notes the danger of the perpetuation of the government’s reckless and un-disciplined tax, spend and waste approach to governance. We are disturbed that while threatening to force a new and disruptive across the board tax on struggling Bahamians, this tax, spend and waste government has not at the same time announced any new measures designed to limit the growth of public spending, eliminate the waste of public funds on non-productive field trips abroad, pet projects of politicians, bloated and obscure contracts for friends, lovers and political cronies, and the political employment of a host of aged, retired and unproductive consultants among other abuses of public finances by the PLP.”

The FNM insists the government releases its draft legislation for the imposition of VAT immediately.

But according to Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman, Bradley Roberts, the government’s tax reform efforts are part of a larger plan to reinvigorate an economy that was “left staggering after five years of FNM mismanagement.”

“This government is bringing in new investment, creating jobs, conducting new training programmes, supporting small and medium businesses through a new agency, and building a new school to invest in and reinvent Bahamian agriculture and marine sciences,” Mr. Roberts said in a press statement on Wednesday.

“For many Bahamians, life is still hard, and we’re working hard to bring change sooner rather than later. In this year’s budget alone, we made more than $160 million in spending cuts. Nonetheless, this government is left holding the bag for the previous government’s many mistakes including millions in cost overruns on just one airport in Abaco and numerous failures to represent The Bahamas effectively at the negotiating table.”

Mr. Roberts said nothing is more important than getting Bahamians back to work and making Bahamian communities safer.

“We’re going to address the fiscal crisis we inherited, but we’re not going to stop investing in Bahamians,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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