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Dpm Pledges Crack Down On Smuggling

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE deputy prime minister yesterday pledged to crackdown on the "big problem" of smuggling, although he was unable to quantify how much this costs the government in lost revenue.

K Peter Turnquest, addressing a Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's (BCCEC) breakfast, said: "With respect to smuggling, this is a big problem. We have plans and programmes in place that are going to stop much of that.

"We are not going to get all of it because we are a creative people, but we intend to stop it as best we can. We recognise that our islands are being used, and that's unfortunate. I can assure you that the Ministry of Finance is working with the customs department, it is working with the police department and all of the relevant agencies.

"We have plans to ensure that we mitigate and minimise the activity that is happening around this country. It does, in fact, have a direct impact on our revenue and as a result taxation. We are doing all to weed the smuggling out."

Mr Turnquest further warned: "If you are involved in smuggling, the non-stamping of cigarettes, tobacco and other goods; if you are smuggling goods through our islands and not paying duty, today would be a good day to discontinue that practice."

The Deputy Prime Minister, when questioned further by Tribune Business, said it was difficult to quantity exactly how much government revenue is lost as a result of smuggling.

"It's difficult to quantify, but we do know that there is activity," he said. "We want to encourage importers to play by the rules because, at the end of the day, if everyone plays by the rules it will make the system fairer and allow us to contain our tax structure such that we do not put more burden on those who are playing by the rules."

Comments

bogart 4 days, 15 hours ago

If the authorities dont know ....then smuggling must be small and negligible......if smuggling is large and still dont know then its incompetance.....when was da last time anyone anyhow ever been caught and procecuted fer smuggling...mussey round da the same last time anyone was ever prosecuted fer harbouring...or hiring an illegal worker...??? Lol

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Porcupine 4 days, 13 hours ago

Perhaps the rapid removal of Import Duties altogether would solve this problem.

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DaGoobs 4 days, 8 hours ago

And replace the duties with? More VAT?

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Porcupine 4 days ago

More VAT could also translate into less taxes overall. VAT and Duty are not the only two taxes we contend with, nor are they the only taxes available to us. It seems the question of how much do we need to run our country is separated from the political expediency of creating jobs for the next election. Also, not enough discussion, in fact little discussion at all, has been given to more progressive taxation. Whether income tax, or property taxes. The overarching idea would be to reduce the tax burden significantly by becoming more efficient. A manager of a company in a competitive economy spends their career doing so. It is a matter of exposure to other ways of operating, which we seriously lack here. The other side is growing the economy so that we are not trying to "tax our way out of debt", rather encouraging people to spend more, innovate and become entrepreneurs. Isn't this te lip service both governments have given us since day 1? All of these things require a bit more than just basic education. If we fail to see the huge limitations we have placed upon ourselves, including those supposedly educated leaders, by failing to push for and fund education starting in the home and extending to the schools there should be no surprise that we seem to be left with few alternatives. In fact, there is an abundance of real world alternatives to suffocating the poor and middle classes with more taxes, while at the same time running a sustainable government.
If one cannot see how our country is being left behind, failing actually by most metrics, due solely by our failure in education, it is not a surprise that we have to go back to square one each time we have a discussion on taxation.

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ohdrap4 3 days, 23 hours ago

there is no such thing as "replacement of taxes", govt just add them on.

look at canada, they have income tax, duties on many products and GST (VAT type)

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The_Oracle 3 days, 23 hours ago

High taxes foster tax avoidance and civil service graft/corruption. Having said that, Customs has never utilized their prerogative of suspect, investigate, prove and prosecute. Like the layers of an onion, one never knows who is involved in the corruption. It did start at the top after all.

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John 3 days, 22 hours ago

The removal of customs duties in favor of VAT may not be a bad idea in helping to curb or stamp out smuggling. Unlike customs duties, VAT checks itself at the end of the cycle. So if you are only importing one hundred cases of beer but selling 300 cases, then you have to give an account of where you are getting the other 200 cases from. And if you are only reporting 100 cases in sales but wholesale merchants claim they are selling you 200 cases, again you must explain where the other 100 cases went. Our borders are porous and smuggling will always be difficult to control, even from the time of the rum runners.

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