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Ouch! Peter Turns The Screw On Vat

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivers the Budget Communication. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest delivers the Budget Communication. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

Finance Minister K. Peter Turnquest delivered a stunning blow to consumers and businesses yesterday with a shock increase in the rate of Value Added Tax to 12 percent.

In his budget address to parliament Mr Turnquest had carefully laid the ground for a string of changes to the country’s tax regime which would benefit thousands of families and businesses.

Then came the price for paying for these measures: VAT nearly doubling from 7.5 percent to 12 and taking effect on July 1.

The government projects the VAT increase will help it reap $1,115,007,455 in revenue in the next fiscal year, a 60 percent increase compared with the forecasted VAT revenue for 2017-2018. Mr Turnquest said this was indicative of the government choosing not to wait until it is too late to shore up the economy, but opting to act now and act responsibly.

The decision attracted the fury of Opposition members in the House of Assembly who shouted “shameful” from their seats, while others asserted the government was “trying to kill the Bahamian people”. Later during a press conference, the Progressive Liberal Party warned the move would spark a recession as it poured scorn on Mr Turnquest’s economic growth projections.

Despite touting the Minnis administration’s lowering of the wage bill and the purchase of goods and services by a projected $120m -  along with a $351m deficit reduction - the deputy prime minister dropped his VAT bombshell, justifying the hike by saying there was an urgent need to pay off a “mountain” of arrears and unbudgeted commitments totalling some $360m left behind by the former administration.

In his address Mr Turnquest said this fiscal irresponsibility of the Christie administration inflicted damage on the state of the economy, making the Minnis administration’s task all the more difficult.

The government also moved a resolution yesterday for a loan of $187,233,623 to defray expenditure in the 2018/2019 estimates of revenue and expenditure.

Mr Turnquest said: “Our government fully appreciates the sacrifice that the substantial increases in the VAT rate and other taxes will represent for our citizens. But as I have repeatedly said on record: this government was elected to do what is right for the welfare of the country and not to do what is politically expedient or politically popular. Facing the situation that we have, we could do as governments have done before – and simply present a misleading budget with under-budgeted allocations and hidden obligations.

“We could have kicked the can down the road and borrowed some more – delaying the inevitable day of reckoning. By playing this game we would have only made a bad situation worse. The country’s bond rating is at junk status. The reason for that is because others before us failed to act promptly and judiciously. But worse than the junk status, the penalty for inaction is a continued quickening crawl toward a fiscal point of no return. And as we have seen, when countries hit crisis mode, the path to correction is extraordinarily hard and painful.

“In the Budget, we could have pretended that this time, we could collect all the uncollected and under-collected taxes in a few weeks and months. But, we recognise that while we must improve our tax yield on existing taxes immediately – which is why we are institutionalising the Revenue Enhancement Unit – we understand that, to realistically improve our capacity to collect all of our taxes, is a multi-year project given the institutional weaknesses that prevail today. We will improve in this area. We must. And we will report on our progress regarding same.”

Mr Turnquest attempted to soften the blow of the higher VAT rate by unveiling VAT free breadbasket items, duty reductions and exemptions.

“Effective August 1, we are eliminating VAT on all breadbasket items, with the exception of sugar, as sugar will – for health reasons – be removed from the list of breadbasket items,” he said.

These items include butter, cooking oil, mayonnaise, grits, cheese, corned beef, evaporated milk, margarine, rice, flour, tomato paste, baby cereal, soups, broths, powdered detergents and mustard among other things.

VAT will also be eliminated on medicines and residential insurance.

The tax will also be waived on residential electricity bills at or under $100 and water bills at or under $50. For electricity customers, this would impact over 30,000 BPL households alone, he said. For water customers, 43,000 Water & Sewerage customers would be impacted.

The customs personal travel exemption will also be increased from $300 to $500 per person twice each year. Government is also eliminating duties on solar kits upon application to the Ministry of Finance.

The duty on aeroplanes and helicopters is also being eliminated. Mr Turnquest said this is in an effort to build an Aeroplane Registry Industry.

At a press conference after Mr Turnquest’s address Exuma MP Chester Cooper mocked the FNM’s election campaign slogan, saying the budget by the FNM is no ‘People’s budget’.

“(It) is a betrayal of the trust reposed in the Minnis administration by the people of the Bahamas,” said Mr Cooper.

“The PLP will oppose these tax increases and vigorously defend the Bahamian people against an FNM whose self-interest and political survival have caused them to abandon any pretence of this being ‘The People’s Time.”

Mr Cooper said the government’s removal of VAT from breadbasket items - an action opposed by the business community and institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - undermines the image of fiscal prudence the administration has cultivated.

“All the advice suggests that you think you are helping the poor but by the cost of administration being more expensive, you actually make it worse for the poor,” he said. “In the end you have to make up the loss of revenue with higher taxes on other items. This is a shameful exercise of smoke and mirrors.”

During his address to Parliament, Mr Turnquest said there a number of critical factors to be taken into account this fiscal year.

As he pinpointed the $360m arrears, the minister said the government has a plan to pay off the debt.

He said: “$172m in 2018/19; $106m in 2019/20; $75m in 2020/2021; and a small balance thereafter.”

“Second, the adoption of proper and factual budgeting for all known commitments across the breadth and scope of government expenditures, thus ending the past practise of under-budgeting for the sake of displaying unrealistically favourable fiscal outcomes during the budget exercises, but leaving large, unpaid arrears to be paid later. We refer to this as ‘right budgeting’,” Mr Turnquest also said.

“This government will not continue the sham of purposefully under-budgeting known commitments which only leads to another build up of arrears left for others to clean up.

“As a result, the ‘right budgeting’ approach has led to an increase in allocations of some $76m in 2018/19. Examples of some of the more significant such adjustments include having to increase provisions to meet core IT service contract obligations, pensions for public officials, and even the lunch school programme all of which were seemingly under-budgeted knowing full well that the allocations would be insufficient.”

The right budgeting he said would further allow for $48 million in financing for selected new initiatives, in respect of both recurrent and capital expenditure, which the government is implementing in the next fiscal year to advance its socio-economic policy agenda.

These include $13.5m for the digital government initiatives in the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Education; $6m for the construction of a new school in New Providence, $5m for small and medium sized business support;$5m for the Over-the-Hill initiative; and $5m for LED street lighting.

Additionally he said $5m will be spent on a solar demonstration project on a family island, $4m for recruiting college graduates, $2.6m for Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute scholarships, $1m for the prime minister’s cultural grant and $1m for the Freedom of Information.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 8 months, 3 weeks ago

VAT is raised.to 12%. But Nassau still can't generate reliable, clean electric. The dump still burns every time it rains. Freeport is still in a severe economic depression. VAT has not been any kind of help to us. The money was wasted and will continue to be wasted. An example is rhe office for the PM's wife that is a total and complete waste of money.

We continue to let government screw us.

I say general strike. I say we take control.of our government a demand our needs.

But I think all that will happen is we'll bend over and take it....

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Dawes 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Cool lets go on General strike. And then what? How are we going to pay the debt we have? I find it strange that one minute you are telling the Government to stop all spending and not increase taxes, and then next you want them to increase spending (open hotels in Freeport etc). How are they to do both?. I don't agree with the increase in VAT as i think income tax would have been a fairer tax, but i do understand that we now have very little choice. And we can blame the politicians all we want, it was us who kept electing them in the hope they would let us get a spot at the top table.

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joeblow 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This is a great way to slow down the economy, increase unemployment and put more pressure on small to medium businesses.

Even though the government collects more in VAT they will still continue to borrow to enlarge the social welfare state critical to getting re-elected! So how does this tax hike help?

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Notice despite the token reductions the budget is targeted to hit the poor working class the most and to destroy successful businesses. Four Hundred percent increases in police records. Something persons may need two or three times a year. And the vehicle regisocheck to $50. No increases in the tourism or foreign areas except tax on non developed land. Bahamians continue to subsidize foreign tourists visiting the Bahamas.

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Dawes 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We have only survived so long we our old tax regime due to the tourists. It is us the Bahamians who have caused this. We had no problems with family members getting a job at Government even if they weren't needed. WE saw nothing wrong with not paying real property tax, or declaring all the items we brought in to the country. For the last 15 years we have all known this day would come but we hoped to put it off a bit longer. Nope now its time to pay the piper. We owe $8 billion that we have not raised, and we have nothing to really show for it. At 4.25% that $8 billion is $340 million in interest a year, slightly less then what this VAT increase is meant to bring in.

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BahamaPundit 8 months, 3 weeks ago

WE REFUSE TO PAY ANOTHER DIME UNTIL THE POLITICIANS WHO STOLE 80 MILLION DOLLARS FROM BANK OF THE BAHAMAS ARE PUT IN JAIL!!!! ISN'T IT STRANGE THAT MUDDLED MINNIS HAS AUDITED EVERY GOVERNMENT COMPANY EXCEPT BANK OF THE BAHAMAS???

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Two thumbs and two big toes up on that one!!!

Minnis repeatedly promised on the campaign trail that, unlike Christie, he would govern with great transparency....."after all" he said, "it should be the people's time." Yet Minnis and Turnquest have continued to cover up all of the outright theft that occurred at Bank of The Bahamas (BoB) by corrupt PLP and FNM politicians, and their cronies. Over $500,000,000 million of taxpayers dollars and national insurance contributor's funds plowed into BoB by Christie, Minnis and Turnquest combined, and still no transparency about who got the benefit of all of this money that was, for all intents and purposes, stolen from the Bahamian people by corrupt PLP and FNM politicians and their cronies. Where's all that transparency promised by Minnis? Could it be that Minnis and/or Turnquest are among those who personally have something to be kept hidden at BoB?!

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proudloudandfnm 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Not one line in the budget dedicated to Grand Bahama....

Peter you are a traitor. Not sure what you're gonna do about next term but you most definitely will not be an MP on this island.

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Not after that sucker punch!

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The elimination of taxes on clothing and shoes for local stores is an excellent move. These are items persons shop online for most frequently as well as when they travel abroad. Also many travelers bring back items to sell from their homes, cars or on the side of the streets. Giving them an advantage over stores. This move will allow the stores to be more competitive and have their prices even closer to Miami prices too.

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

About the only sensible move on the list. The rest is just smoke and mirrors.

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BahamaPundit 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Maybe now we can have T.J. MAXX in the Bahamas. LOL

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Socrates 8 months, 3 weeks ago

based on past practice, we can expect that notwithstanding the stated goal of debt reduction, what will happen is more handouts, funding of dubious projects and no improvement in gov't finances. The middle class will start the slow, inevitable slide to lower class. And this is only the beginning. Expect NIB contributions to rise, introduction of a NHI levy and further increase in VAT to 15% before this term ends. Of course an increase in BPL rates is already in the works to cover upcoming borrowing/restructuring or whatever term you wish to use. Lets not forget the money gifted to loyalists from BOB either, that we also have to pay for now that it is acknowledged that most of the money is not recoverable.

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

When VAT was introduced businesses requested that their pricing remain the same and the VAT be added only at the cash register. Many believed that there would be increases in the VAT like there will be on July 1. But government insisted that the regular price, the VAT And the total price be shown on each item. Businesses spent hundreds of man hours adjusting prices and even purchasing pricing equipment that can print the required label format. Now they must, as required by law, go and adjust price to reflect the new vat prices. Food stores, like Super Value applied for and got permission to show only the first price on their products provided they have labels on the shelves that show the vat as well as the total price. So for them they will only have to adjust the tax rate on their pos system.

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The_Oracle 8 months, 3 weeks ago

VAT works because the private sector collects and remits it! Obviously the private sector is more trustworthy than the public sector.(overall) initially VAT caused an immediate price hike because most merchants didn't understand it, after a lifetime of Duty being included in the cost of goods (which it still is) VAT is a pass through, and while it will still cause costs to rise it still remains more efficient and collectable. No one in their right mind likes it, but aught to appreciate the dire fiscal failure we have been for the last 50 years. As usual, we engage mouths before we engage our seldom used mental faculties. Burden now or wipe out later. And not too much later either. A wipe out that could still happen in any event. This is where the "popular vote" comes home to roost. Those Yellow and Red T-shirts don't come cheap. WE have willingly walked down the garden path hand in hand with the flavor of the day and now want to cry about mosquitoes? Look around people, find a former PLP or FNM politician and thank them for their largess at your expense!

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

You are, of course, quite right!

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Economist 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Well said. Both the FNM and the PLP have caused this mess. When we got to Junk Bond status the ability to borrow effectively came to an end.

45 years of borrowing.

Now we have to repay what our fathers borrowed.

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licks2 8 months, 3 weeks ago

One problem I have with what you post. . .public workers collect more government vat than private persons. . .the most mix-up in vat collection is in the private sector. . .not because they "tief". . .but them sticking to submission schedules. . .private sector submission and government reimbursements for collecting and submission of government tax is creating one big mess! They are in-point-of-fact are also "working" for government by using their own resources to collect government money for it. . .and government is not giving them the promised "pay out" for working for it. . .this mess may come to head soon. . .there lays the biggest hiccup in the VAT saga.

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

And as long as the National Debt continues to climb, the government will have to come hunting for more taxes. And as more taxes are collected the lower the standard of living will become and the more businesses will fail. So either government has to break the cycle or the cycle will break them.

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licks2 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The American national debt has long pass went higher than it DSR. . .in fact most developed nations has done so long years ago!! So high debt do not equal lowing living standards. . .one would expect that principle to be the logical conclusion of a nation piling on more debt year after year. . .but the data show that not to be the hard and fast reality!!

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Greentea 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"high debt do not equal lowing living standards" It does when you have little to offer to offset it.

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proudloudandfnm 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Eliminating VAT on bread basket is a political ploy, a campaign stunt. That is going to cause grocery prices go up. All groceries. You cannot put extra work on store owners and expect prices to go down.

Dumb move.

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Stupid and devious at the same time.

That's why governments, including this one, like keeping the masses (aka The People) poor and uneducated.

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licks2 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Think now. . .VAT was not "gain" for merchants in the first place. . .it was gain for government only!! So if government remove, lower or raise VAT it will not affect the profit margin of the collector. . .his/her profit margin remains constant. . .so why would they raise prices. . .their out remains the same. . .they need no new output to meet the new requirements??? Now I would agree with you that the VAT lowing is a political ploy. . .move it from one place and put it on another place. . .old political tricks as usual. . .it just my personal feelings not that is what they did. . .it is just my suspicions!

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma Comrades, how uncaring is this red shirts regime.... well, let me give you KP's perception of "Ya Bungy on KP's 12% VAT Fire." KP doesn't use just any pepper put in Vaseline but is well known over at Customs for authorizing the importation of the hottest pepper ever known mankind's, the Trinidadian Moruga, with a bad mean heat of more than 2 million Scoville units that can literally melt tissue lining ya ass.... which far out strips my planet Mars miles from earth we own home grown Bahamalander Chili Peppers which at its best will generate mean heat of a maximum 95,000-110,000 Scovilles

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bogart 8 months, 3 weeks ago

VAT works because of the private sector ....at least many businesses in helping to implement would have been smart to grasp the opportunity to also ....factor in their initial expenses...by increasing the cost of the srrvice product first ...and then adding the 7.5% on top and then rounding off numbers to eliminate the use of coins..for a final price...Businesses are there to make profits....they do not tolerate inefficiencies..that is why govt should have offloaded many of the agencies it keeps subsidizing year after year.instead of squeezing businesses barely surviving. Myers has some excellent ideas.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Soooooo, if the PLP was in power now, what would they have done to earn more revenue?????

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tetelestai 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The old, "what would the PLP have done" card is finished now sheeprunner. We voted the PLP out because of their misdeeds...we are now grading the FNM based on their deeds. Stop trying to use the PLP as justification for the nonsense being perpetrated by this government.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The PLP got us in this mess ....... They have NO credibility to criticize KPT

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sooooooo, Ma Comrade, just want make sure that you are aware it was the red shirts who during the 2017 general election circulated the resumes of the 35 on 10th May 2017 sent up to the People's House of Assembly after applying for 35 jobs that were previously done by the 35 PLP MP's but they said they had a better real transparency plan to begin from day one to run and turn around for the positive the peoples state of affairs around which the 91,409 voting red would soon see and feel, It's the People's time. It was all lies, no... excepting Dionisio James who got down to work on day one ion his job and needs be congratulated... and I'll bet my island house that this is one tiny handful new to da scene politicians who will never become sidetracked by corruption.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Minnis, Turnquest and all the other FNM politicians opted to take the easy road of simply increasing taxes. Like past PLP and FNM governments, the Minnis-led government steadfastly refuses to take the hard road of austerity measures which would entail significant reductions in our bloated public sector head count and related payroll/benefits. They have put a lot of lip stick on the 12019/20 budget pig (or should I say 'tax hog') in an effort to try pretty it up as much as possible. But the 2019/20 budget remains just that - a tax hog! And we all know what happens to an already well-fed tax hog when you feed it even more taxes - it grows quickly and exponentially. Yes indeed, by taking the easy road of more taxes, our spendthrift Minnis-led government have effectively acknowledged they have every intention of further growing the size of our already grossly bloated and largely non-productive public sector. We are about to see the public sector hog fatten up to a humongous size, to the point where there will be no hope for sustainability much less growth in our private business sector.

Moreover, to add real insult to injury, Minnis and Turnquest were originally proposing to increase VAT to 15% but decided at the very last minute that it would be more politically prudent to do this in a phased approach way, i.e. 12% VAT now and 15% VAT next year. The need for much greater higher taxation to eventually change the colour of his annual budget suitcase from red to black is nothing but a laughable political ruse by Turnquest - he and Minnis must think we are all fools to be manipulated and taxed as they wish! And to think that both Minnis and Turnquest promised us time and time again on the FNM campaign trail that his FNM government would not introduce any new taxes but rather would focus on removing the huge amount of waste, fraud and corruption in the public sector, thereby making the size of our public sector appropriately lean and productive to much better meet the needs of the Bahamian people. It seems Minnis and Turnquest alike are now nothing but bold two-faced liars and traitors of the highest order!

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licks2 8 months, 3 weeks ago

More mouth than brain as usual. . .just you wait. . .this government too must stop playing around with yall and go ahead a bring the 15% VAT as the international bodies told them that they must do to save this nation!! My circle of friends done concluded that VAT or income tax is a must. . .WTO demands no more or no less. . .then duties will be a thing of the past. . .THE DNA CANNOT DO ANY DIFFERENT. . .SO BE CAREFUL HOW YA RUN YA LOOSE MOUTH. . .THE DNA IS THE NEXT CHOICE IF THE FNM IS KICKED OUT COME NEXT ELECTION. . .THE PLP IS DEAD FOREVER. . . SO BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY. . .WE MAY BE TELLING YOU THAT YOU LIED JUST LIKE THE FNM IS BEING TOLD SO NOW BY YOU!!

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The PLP is not dead forever. In fact, Dr Minnis and his desperate Oban deal and now Turnquest and Johnson with the lazy budget have together provided critical life support to the diseased and critically wounded PLP. You dismiss their chances at your own peril.

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Tourism who’s now the country’s most lucrative industry is also now one of the least taxed. And so it leads many tourists to ask, ‘Why are there so many poor people in The Bahamas?’ And when the government raises taxes on the web shops to a level that is unconscionable at least two things will happen. Illegal gambling will not emerge and web shop operators will be forced out of business or engaged in tax evasion. In either or all scenarios the increase in government revenue will not be realized. And the higher tax brackets will serve as a disincentive for web shops to invest and hire more staff.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 3 weeks ago

To hell with the web shops - ideally they should all be shutdown or forced back underground and kept as far away as possible from our legitimate banking system. What we really need is a National Lottery to kill off the web shops once and for all. At least a National Lottery would give gambling addicts a much better winning chance - something you don't stand a chance of getting by spinning the rigged numbers of Island Luck and Flowers. All net earnings of the National Lottery can then be earmarked by legislation to help meet the financial needs of our currently resourced constrained public education and healthcare systems. But I don't expect to ever hear you John agitating for a National Lottery.......you're much too busy singing for your supper from the likes of Sebas Bastian and Craig Flowers, two real low-life thugs who don't give a damn about the devastating destruction they are causing to the social and economic fabric of our society!

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DDK 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The thing is Mudda, this would require a bit of TIME and EFFORT on the part of The People's Government. Why they don't run with this option is beyond me, unless they are just plain lazy and/or aren't up to the task in the brain department. I've been thinking, perhaps they were not in bed with them after all if they are going to try and hit them so hard with increased taxes.........

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Dawes 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We charge 10% on hotel rooms, we have the departure tax, we have other taxes as well. But OK lets increase these taxes and make our already very expensive destination even more expensive.

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The 91,409 voting red shirts are done walking around with sickening feeling of how could they have been so easily conned into voting for the very 35 red shirts MP's who does not believe your income is ‘your money.'
It’s hard shake the feeling that the 35 red MP's will not stop with introducing new taxes to take more and more out the total amount showing on your payslip as if your only obligation is to work for them take more your monies to mismanage.
Ma Comrades, this represent what’s really wrong with the reds doing even worse than the PLP in taking more of what is the peoples right to keep to better provide their families and hopeful manage tuck way little what you earn today, for older age. Some 2017 general election promises, insincerity... change but one letters in tuck and you get how you're being red shirts #uck....ed. Amen!

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Has the government had "enough time" yet?

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma Comrade, sit down and calmly think what will happen to you if you should walk over neighbours and take their pay earnings - da magistrate going give you one way ticket ride bus up Her Majesty's Lodging quarters... like they come this much close doing with missing red fire hydrant.

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birdiestrachan 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"The Judas" The betray of the peoples time trust. He read exactly what the new car owners told him, how many cars one can buy and a reduced duty on new cars. They said they were not selling enough new cars.

What about the spouse office. she went with those folks to Japan about the cars Bahamians were buying. What the peoples time voters do not realize is who buy the red shirts and hats they wear and the pompons they shake. They are the people who call the shots.r

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John 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Muddier sick stop crying like a little *itch. The web shops got taxed on all fronts and you still complaining. If they go back underground then the government collects zero, except for when a careless bookie gets caught.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This is the problem with this lawless cartel ...... it should have been wiped out after the people said NO in the Referendum ...... The FNM has a chance to do so now. Hit the Numbers Cartel where it hurts most.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

TEN YEARS FROM NOW ........ THE FNM PRESENT POLICIES WILL LOOK LIKE MAGIC ........ ANY ECONOMIST STUDYING THIS DEBT RISE SINCE 1967 WILL HAVE TO TAKE STOCK THAT THE BILLIONS OF BORROWINGS IN THE PAST FOUR ELECTION CYCLES HAVE PLACED US IN DEBT CRISIS ........ WE CANNOT CONTINUE THIS TREND.

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Hehe, I think if you speak with economists, they will say what a jumbled mess this budget is. I'm quite surprised to see Gowon Bowe who is usually very calm, referencing the word "asinine" when speaking to the budget assumptions and timelines

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Do you mean the Gowan Bowe who was singing Perry's praises?????

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Do not take it personal ......... Discuss the fiscal issues.

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BahamaPundit 8 months, 3 weeks ago

What we have in the Bahamas is a pretend government. In actuality, all we have is a bunch of middle aged Africans that have used the platform of "government" to steal for the last 40 years. For the majority of this time, the stealing went unoticed, because these Africans could borrow and cover their tracks. Now, 40 years later, 7 billion has been stollen, and they are chasing after us to pay the bill. I have never been so scared of these African men before. They are desperate, because there's nothing left to steal from the international community. Now they are coming after us. They must be stopped, before we are all as poor as Haitian and African nations. The Queen must return to these shores, and the Bahamas must once more become a British colony.

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BahamaPundit 8 months, 3 weeks ago

These charlatans are pretending that they raised VAT to get our fiscal house in order. They act like they are fiscally responsible. Ha ha ha. In actuality, they raised VAT because they are junk bond status and no one in the international community with half a brain will lend them a red cent. At least be honest you $#@&#_&# morons!!!

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

And who got us to junk bond status????? ...... At least KPT has a plan to dig us out of Perry's debt hole.

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TalRussell 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma Comrade, pretty sad I know and don't take personal but Sheeprunner12 is as misguidedly connected to the Imperial red shirts in same way BirdieStrachan is to the PLP, with not independent thought between two's them... to credit BirdieStrachan - his grammar is acceptable.

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BONEFISH 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This FNM government was warned by the IMF experts what they had to do when they give exemptions and zero-rated items.They would have to raise the vat rate to make up for the revenue they gave up.That is why they have to have this big jump in the vat rate.Once this vat rate goes up,it is not coming down.Be prepared for it to go 15% .

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 months, 3 weeks ago

We can thank Gowan Bowe (President of BICA), John Rolle (Governor of Central Bank) and others like them for governments preferring to inflict the scourge of VAT on us rather than adopt much needed belt tightening through serious austerity measures. Gowan Bowe and John Rolle were perhaps the most aggressive and vociferous proponents of the introduction of VAT by the last Christie-led government......back then they harped on and on about how we must trust the corrupt Christie-led government to do the right thing because they supposedly (according to Bowe and Rolle) had no choice but to do the right thing. Bowe and Rolle assured us the well known crooked PLP would apply our VAT dollars towards reducing our annual budget deficits and national debt. What a bunch of malarkey that turned out to be. The crooked PLP government did exactly what I cautioned they would do - they took our VAT dollars and did what any 'well tax fed' corrupt and spendthrift government would do.....further grow the size of our bloated government in an effort to buy votes at the taxpayers expense. The Minnis-led FNM government have proven they are no different than the last corrupt Christie-led government by their persistent refusal to take the harder and more painful road of adopting much needed austerity measures. Well Mr. Bowe and Mr. Rolle, we are being stung and crippled by hikes to the new form of taxation that you so strongly endorsed. Just what is it Mr. Bowe and Mr. Rolle that you two do not understand about the basic rule that you must starve a spendthrift government of tax dollars rather than give them a mechanism to feed themselves with additional tax dollars?! I can't help but cringe every time I see Bowe and Turnquest cozying up to and/or mentioning each other these days.

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seamphony 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Simply raising the VAT to dig the whole country out the debt pit that the PLP burried us in is just further abuse of the regular bahamians. I would like to see more tax on stuff wealthy individuals have like luxury cars, mansions with pools, their commercial properties, and businesses.

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BONEFISH 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Sometimes I wonder at the smarts of people who get elected to the HOA and ,made ministers.The Revenue Enhance Unit at the Department of Inland Revenue was set up to go after tax cheats and evaders.They were collecting around 30 million per month from tax cheats,But Peter being a true bahamian politician nearly disbanded that unit.Now he realize what that unit was doing and now he want to make it more or less permanent.In a more advanced country, the former FS Wilson would have been commended.But he has been cast aside.An FNM told me that.Now you have a marketing manager fumbling around playing that role. But Peter will survive in this country, an inept finance minister.I feel sorry for us in the Bahamas,a country with this current inept version of the FNM and the brutally corrupt ,inept PLP..Oh how I wish for the days of Mr.Ingraham

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

While Turnquest and the current FS are definitely out of their league. It's alleged that some very strange things went down at finance in the previous administration, ONE of those things is currently before the court. There's a saying "never let your good be spoken evil of", I wouldn't be too quick to give anyone in charge during that period a crown of glory. Somebody knew and somebody directed, another open question is how many people benefitted.

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BONEFISH 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I also want to know happen at the Ministry of Finance during that period.Wilson,I was told was FS from 2016.The FS before Wilson was John Rolle,the current Central Bank Governor.And the FS before him briefly was the late Ehurd Cunningham.They were the FS during the PLP's last term in government. There is plenty,I want to know but a lot of people won't say.Ask the acting FS, what occurred at his previous place of employment and why so many people in the know oppose his current appointment.There is a saying those who come to equity must have clean hands.A lot of people in this town don't have clean hands.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Well, BTC is a private company owned by an international firm ..... If Marlon Johnson was doing something untoward there, would C&W not say so????

And FYI ......... he then got a job at Belize phone company ..... Watsayu???

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

I worked at a place some years ago where two men colluded to deprive the company of their rightfully earned revenues. There was a suspicion that others were involved but no strong evidence. The two men in question were quietly dismissed and never heard from again. The other persons weren't fired but thei money handling responsibilities were reduced.

Sometimes the company suspects something is going on but doesn't have enough evidence for a court case, sometimes the employee suspects management is on to him and he resigns before they can act, maybe even goes to another country, sometimes the company doesn't want the public to know how easily someone got around their accounting controls. Sometimes the scammer has embarrassing information on the CEO so the CEO hesitates to act. Remember Shane Gibson's state "if Christie could run, I could run too"? There are lots of reasons why scammers survive in this society. If they have a strong social network, they pop up at some senior position at another organization making twice as much money as anyone who ever held that position....these are examples of what "could" happen...just saying...

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

If KPT and Minnis wanted to squeeze Simon Wilson and John Rolle, would they be sitting pretty in the Central Bank right now??????

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realitycheck242 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The Gov Budget for 2018-2019 will ensure that the Bahamas does not have to make the dreaded call to the IMF that Barbados newly elected Prime minister The Hon Mia Mottley has had to make last week for a bail out by that agency. Major economic restructuring was now necessary in the face of an out-of-control debt of 175 per cent of gross domestic product, an estimated $15 billion which is said to be $9 billion more than what the previous Democratic Labour Party administration inherited in 2008 when it took office.Can you imagine that Bahamians ? Barbados with a population of 285,000 much smaller than the Bahamas has a national depth of 15 Billion.Dollars.compared to the 9 Billion for the Bahamas. This fact alone iis all the more reason that we should all support the increase in Vat and the government's three year plan to reach a balanced budget and have a surplus in three years time.. God forbid, Barring any massive natural disaster for our country over that three year time frame we will all (even the now Critics) be singing the praises for this administration for this bold step to turn this ship of state around from going the way of Barbados and Greese in the European union.

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ThisIsOurs 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The simplistic nature of KP and Johnson's assmptupions are very strange coming from what is supposed to be the organization handling the biggest budget in the country. They're putting a stranglehold on growth, firing people and increasing taxes in one fell swoop. If they collect double VAT in the coming year, prices don't skyrocket and the webshops and retailers don't start a mass firing exercise in response, I'll apologize to you personally.

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sheeprunner12 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Barbados dollar is 2:1 vs the USD .......... Sooooooo, their $15billion is actually less than our $9billion ............ Apples and oranges??????

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