Sunday, September 22, 2013

Value-Added Tax (VAT) was approved by the Free National Movement (FNM) and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) governments... ...The question now is: When will it be implemented?

Pm Accuses Critics Of Vat 'Distortion'

Tribune Business 

PRIME Minister Perry Christie yesterday hit back at critics of the Government’s proposed Value-Added Tax (VAT), accusing them of “distortion” and urging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to publicly back his administration’s plans.
“All over the region and the world VAT has been implemented. The IMF has described it as one of the most efficient forms of taxation,” Mr Christie said.
“Both governments, FNM and PLP, committed to VAT, and it was only a question of when it would be implemented. We came in and indicated that we would implement it.
“We are putting together all of the teams and everything to do with having people educated, and having them participate in discussion on it, so people will become aware of the intention behind it and the effect of it, and how it will be used to better the Bahamas.”
His comments came after the Nassau Institute think tank this week released a study entitled ‘The Economic Consequences of the Value-Added Tax for the Bahamas’. The study was produced by David Godsell, a third year PhD student at Queen’s University in Ontario, and a former Canadian Revenue Agency tax auditor.
It estimated that VAT’s implementation would result in a net $165 million decline in the Government’s total annual revenues, while the private sector would incur a collective $103 million annually in compliance costs.
In addition, the Bahamian economy would see a reduction in per annum GDP of between $322 million and $483 million. The report said studies had shown a tax increase equivalent to 1 per cent of GDP resulted in a GDP decrease of between 2-3 per cent.
Hitting back at the report, Mr Christie said: “When I read of the study commissioned by the Nassau Institute, I was not surprised. They have always taken positions that they say are protective of the economy, but in this case we thought the study was predicated on incorrect premises.
“One of the things that I know we must put in place is the capacity to answer quickly, through informed persons, who are not politicians, these issues about VAT.
“The call I made today is for the IMF, which comes into the Bahamas, and other countries around the world, to indicate whether you are on course with your economy or are managing your economy in the right way, that they have a vested interest to protect the debate and ensure that factual inaccuracies and political distortions do not violate the integrity of what we are trying to do.”
Mr Christie added: “There are lots of people who, for their own reasons, will distort the truth of VAT and use misinformation to cause people to say: ‘I don’t want it’, and we think that it has a disastrous outcome for a country that is following on really with unanimity in policy, where both governments - past and present - are in agreement with the implementation of a new form of taxation.
“For the last five years this has been an issue for us, and now that we have begun the process of implementation we want to ensure that there is honest commentary and that people have an opportunity to hear what it is all about without it being distorted. People have jumped the gun on it, and you have a lot of distortions on what VAT is and what it is intended to do.”
September 20, 2013