By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A leading small business consultant has urged the government to ‘expedite’ its decision on a definitive Value-Added Tax (VAT) rate.
Mark Turnquest, principal of Mark A Turnquest Consulting, said that there was too much misinformation and not enough information surrounding the proposed tax regime.
“Everyone is holding their ground. Things are steady right now. There is now huge momentum. A lot of small business are skeptical of how much taxes they will be paying in reference to VAT. The fear of it is worse than the actual event. The most important thing for small and medium-sized business right now is what will be the pros and cons of VAT and after that everything will sort itself out. Right now, there is a lot of misinformation and not enough information that is preventing the progress of the small business right now. They are at a cross-roads. Things are just idle until we get sorted out with what is the final position on how much VAT will be charged,” said Mr Turnquest. Prime Minister Perry Christie revealed last month that the VAT rate would not be as high 15 per cent as initially proposed by the government.
He added: “I urge government to speed up and expedite their decision making in reference to what will be the rate charged because small and medium-sized business have to plan for the future as well and right now its a little difficult to plan when you don’t know what will be the actual tax amount you have to pay.”
Mr Turnquest, who was part of an eight-member private sector committee to drive the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Development Bill forward, said that he was optimistic that both the legislation and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency would be finalised by December.
“By December, everything should be finalised, once we get through this tax reformation process of VAT. Once we get through VAT, the government would then refocus on the Small business Act and the small business development agency. I’m optimistic that by the end of December, SMEDA and the small business Act which is the policy SMEDA is executing will be completed,” said Mr Turnquest. SMEDA is being described as a “one stop shop” for small and medium enterprises, with accompanying legislation designed to make them more competitive and remove roadblocks that prevent them from accessing capital.