DNA: Gov’t Should Implement VATs
By Kendea Smith
The Bahama Journal
Nassau, The Bahamas
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) spokesman for the Ministry of Financial Services Maurice Smith said he agrees with the government’s stance to explore the implementation of value added taxes as an alternative means of revenue.
Recently, Prime Minister Perry Christie said he was preparing to share several recommendations with cabinet on how valued added taxes should be implemented.
Mr. Smith, who spoke to the Journal recently, said this is something that should have been done years ago.
“I think this country needs to go in a different direction in terms of taxes and the value added tax has been tossed about for quite a bit and one of the things I think needs to be done first is [people need to be educated],” he said.
“I think that it would be a good thing for The Bahamas and it has to be regulated properly and it is has to be implemented with the intention that everyone knows what it means and how it is going to affect The Bahamas. I think that is one of the goals of the financial services providers in this country.”
Mr. Smith said he will also look into helping the government disseminate information on value added taxes.
“To the average Bahamian, they know nothing of it and that is why it is up to us to make sure that they do. Too often we have been introducing these aspects to the Bahamian people but not making information easily accessible,” he said.
Prime Minister Christie also recently told reporters that The Bahamas is one of the very few countries that don’t have some form of value added taxes.
“When we look at the revenue of our country, we realise that we are running out of sources for additional revenue and so we are at the maximum of what I think we can get from the Customs duties,” Prime Minister Christie said.
“What we have not been able to do is have an effective collection of real property tax and so we have had some consultants help us determine a pathway to be more effective with collecting real property taxes.”
Mr. Christie recently explained that the government would have more revenue to assist the poor if the country implemented value added taxes.
“I indicated that we will have a white paper in short order. I have the basis of the white paper in my hands now. I will present it to my government in short order to look at and then it will be published publically for public comment and for the public to weigh in on the way forward. It is a major shift and if it were to happen, I would want it to happen quickly,” he said.
“A lot of training will be needed in order to implement any kind of change of that kind.”
July 12, 2012