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Gibson Seeks Delay In Vat Rise

Adrian Gibson, MP for Long Island.

Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Adrian Gibson, MP for Long Island. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THOUGH he supports the tax hike, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson said he wants the government to postpone the increase of value added tax.

Speaking in the House of Assembly yesterday, the Water & Sewerage Corporation chairman said: “While I support the increase in VAT and the simultaneous reduction and eventual elimination on customs duties on various imports, I’m concerned there wasn’t a greater degree of public consultation and/or consultation with big business and/or the business community. Given the concerns being expressed, the increase perhaps should be postponed until the third or fourth quarter as opposed to immediate implementation on the 1st of July. In my constituency, I’ve faced many questions. This would allow business houses to organise their accounts and their affairs. I spoke to Long Island business persons and even chatted with (Super Value owner) Rupert Roberts this morning and I can tell you they feel a brief postponement would be more palatable.”

Nonetheless, Mr Gibson said the tax increase is necessary.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch as we seek better infrastructure that would translate into new opportunities for The Bahamas,” he said. “To obtain the same we must understand that either the government must raise the funds through taxation or borrow. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. It is a give and take. Our people must appreciate that our need to increase VAT from 7.5 percent to 12 percent, particularly given our accession to the World Trade Organisation, is necessary. One, the country needs supplemental taxation to reduce legacy debt that has astronomically impacted the debt to GDP ratio, and customs duties will in large part be eliminated or greatly reduced when we are slated to join WTO. Our country can no longer survive on credit. Moving forward I would suggest we also implement a debt ceiling.”

As for increased taxation of web shops, another controversial budget item, Mr Gibson said communities in Long Island have been negatively impacted by the industry.

“The expansion and proliferation of web shops throughout The Bahamas has caused concern,” he said. “Frankly, on islands such as Long Island where we have 15 to 20 web shops, local communities have been negatively impacted in many cases. Frankly, I think that web shops taxes should be even higher. When contrasted to the UK and elsewhere, these operations are being taxed on the lower end. Greater regularisation is needed in the local gaming industry. What’s more, I do not yet know of mechanisms in place to assist persons who develop gambling addictions. Have the gaming houses established such centres?”

Mr Gibson called on the government to raise tariffs at WSC, noting the tariff there has not been raised since 1999.

“There is a noticeable cut in the budget allocation for Water & Sewerage,” he said. “While that means that operation and collection efficiency must improve to keep the corporation solvent and while I welcome the government’s attempt to lessen the reliance of SOEs like WSC on the public treasury, it is also indicative of the urgent need to raise the tariff. . . WSC can hardly meet its obligation as is. No less an institution as the IDB has urged for the same.”

Comments

DDK 5 days, 10 hours ago

Sensible Minister.

I wonder why The Tribune neglected to print that this Minister actually mentioned the implementation of a National Lottery in his budgetary address? That tidbit should have been news-worthy!

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sheeprunner12 5 days, 10 hours ago

Those 15 numbers houses on Long Island employ about 50 persons at minimum wage and export $200,000 a month from the island ........ That is NO way to build the Out Islands ......... Compare that with other bank enterprises.

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observer2 5 days, 1 hour ago

Sheeprunner12. It may employ 50 people but gambling is a non productive enterprise. Simply taking money from one group of people and giving it to another set of people provides zero value.

Look at the gambling addicts, the lives distroyed and the false hopes raised.

Long Islands population has shrunk from 6,500 to 2,400 over the past 10 years. Young people are leaving and not returning, fewer babies are being born, 50% of the population is over 65, the people are getting poorer.

Webshops have definitely contributed to the decline in the wealth of the island with over $500,000 a month of net earnings of the webshops being taken out of the community and flown to Nassau. In Nassau the government gets it cuts (almost as bad as Brutus’ betrayal of Christ) and the webshops owners taking thier winnings and investing it in affluent communities in the west and paradise island.

It’s the people’s time to get poorer alright.

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jamani2 4 days, 15 hours ago

We need to get rid of all these reactionary politicians. This gentleman made so much more sense before he got into politics, when he was a social and political commentator.

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jamani2 4 days, 15 hours ago

It is time that a comprehensive study is done on the havoc that this industry is wreaking on the communities across our beloved country. When you are preying on the poorest, the most struggling, the most vulnerable amongst us, you are contributing to the destruction of the social fabric of the country.

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bogart 4 days, 15 hours ago

Mr. Gibson has been one of the moost progressive politicians and has taken the bull by thr horns and wrastled it to the ground truly demonstrating it is the peoples time. He is fearless and speaks wid sense. He gets tings done. Been so impressed already dat I done calling fer a statue to be erected.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 days, 5 hours ago

I agree that the current regressive taxation regime is infair and therefore unsuitable. But any effort at this point in time to replace it with a progressive income tax regime of the kind found in more developed countries would be like putting dynamite in the hands of young children. Our successive spendthrift governments have demonstrated that they are simply not responsible enough to oversee the implementation and administration of a progressive income tax regime, mainly due to the failed two party political system we have been saddled with for decades whereby incompetent imbeciles are typically nominated to run for elected office.

For the time being a 10% VAT with no exemptions could work, but only if accompanied by sustained belt tightening aimed at significantly (and painfully) reducing the size of our grossly over-bloated public services sector by as much as one-third or more over the next two to three years at most. And of course the scourge of the criminal empires run by the numbers bosses would have to be dealt with, in large part through much higher taxation then even currently proposed and by the establishment of a completely tax-free national lottery initially operated by reputable and seasoned foreign lottery experts from Canada or the U.S.

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sheeprunner12 3 days, 10 hours ago

Belt-tightening????????? ................. what about collecting all uncollected taxes?????? .......... That is over $1 Billion today ....... That will automatically put the Budget in the black ......... But is it possible?????? Can we collect the $100million student loans????? ......... $300million RPT ....$100million Resolve ........... $100million NIB contributions .......... etc. etc.

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