By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
TALKS with the government over alternative forms of taxation have been constructive, Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation CEO Edison Sumner said yesterday.
Mr Sumner maintained that the business community was against the government’s proposed implementation of the Value Added Tax system.
The BCCEC’s Coalition for Responsible Taxation is expected to release recommendations made to the government on alternative forms of raising revenue this week.
“We can’t have VAT this stage, it’s not viable,” Mr Sumner said.
“Not in its current form. The coalition certainly has an issue with VAT, we analysed the implications on the business community and the economy.
Mr Sumner said: “We understand there is going to be legislation released to the public soon. We have been having discussions with the government relevant to extensive talks on the white paper, which is what we have been working on to date.”
Mr Sumner said methods include: controlling and reducing the cost of expenditure; improving revenue collection processes; and other forms of personal taxation.
The coalition has the support of around 20 major associations, according to Mr Sumner, who said its primary function was to engage the private sector on issues related to VAT implementation.
“We’ve had a meeting of all the major associations in the country,” Mr Sumner said, “we’ve been able to get pretty much all on board to date. There are a few others we’re still waiting to sign on to the coalition.
“The coalition’s other remit is to direct discussion with the government on VAT,” he added, “and analyse the implications of VAT to the public sector to make recommendations to the government.”
He added: “We’ve had very good meetings with the government, constructive dialogue. The government has been very open and receptive to the suggestions and the ideas of the coalition.”