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Introduction of VAT will bring more hardship

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Introduction of VAT will bring more hardship

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NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – The main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) says it fears the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) will seriously impair the already weak, uncompetitive, and struggling Bahamian economy.
The FNM said that the tax would also “harm and diminish the quality of life of every Bahamian”.
The Perry Christie government has already said that the introduction of the VAT would ensure that the Bahamas remains relevant in the context of a changing global environment.
“Furthermore, our current system is one where the burden of taxation falls on a relatively narrow base of goods and makes us particularly vulnerable to economic shocks. 
“While these revenue sources have been sufficient to sustain positive real growth in the Bahamian economy in decades past, the effects of the worldwide recession put enormous pressure on the government to spur economic growth, which put additional strain on our country’s resources,” Minister of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis said earlier this week.
VAT comes into effect here on July 1, next year.
FNM leader Dr Hubert Minnis, in a two-page statement, said the vast majority of Bahamians “are confused and terrified by the government’s sudden lurch towards the imposition of the new VAT taxation system”.
He described the VAT as 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”.