0

NEW TAXES ONLY AS ‘LAST RESORT’: Davis hoping improved collection systems will deliver revenue targets

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis.

Prime Minister Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Philip “Brave” Davis says his government does not want to put any further tax burdens on the Bahamian people to achieve its fiscal projections.

While in Grand Bahama on Monday, Mr Davis indicated he is optimistic about his administration’s fiscal plans and said any new taxes would be a “last resort” for his administration.

_

Advertisement

“As I would have said to agencies some time ago, my first job would be to see how we grow the economy; any new taxes are a last resort in our agenda,” he said, during a press briefing with reporters at the Office of the Prime Minister in Freeport.

“We are not seeking to put any further burden on our Bahamian people.”

“ We think that our tax, that where we are now with collections and enforcements, we ought to be able to take care of the services that we need to deliver and promises we made to see them fulfilled.”

 This comes after Tribune Business reported on Monday the government planned to bridge the “gap” to its $1.3bn revenue increase with “additional measures” in the upcoming mid-year budget.

 Simon Wilson, the Ministry of Finance’s financial secretary, recently told Tribune Business that some “new tax measures” will be required to achieve the projected 55.7 percent increase in government revenues over the next four years - an objective critical to achieving a forecast $71.9m budget surplus by the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

 Tribune Business reported that while Mr Wilson did not provide any details on the new and/or increased taxes under consideration, he said the government’s senior tax officials were also confident “a significant” sum remains uncollected annually across real property taxes, VAT, customs duties and excise tax.

 In terms of hurricane restoration, Mr Davis has expressed his disappointment with the pace of restoration work on Grand Bahama and Abaco.

 Asked why he felt this way, the Prime Minister said: “I think it is personnel we asked to get things done not moving enough, and so we just have to crack the whip, and that is what we intend to do.”

 In the meantime, the Prime Minister also confirmed the government has engaged an international law firm to help access funding for restoration efforts.

 Mr Davis was asked about a tweet on his Twitter page indicating that a letter of engagement was signed between the government and the law firm of Holland and Knight to access funding to assist with post-Hurricane Dorian restoration.

 The reporter asked about the details and what it means for Grand Bahama and Abaco.

 Mr Davis explained the country needs assistance and there are lots of grants out there that could help The Bahamas.

 “I want to say in keeping with our stress to the corporate citizens of the country, we need assistance, and we need to do this together,” he said. “We were able to have assistance of a corporate citizen to help us engage Holland and Knight to go out and seek grant funding for us. That is one of the… I did not want to disclose everything we are doing, but that the law firm would be lobbying for us.

 “There is lots of funding out in the world particularly for climate change, and medical matters, and particularly after COVID, there’s been quite an appetite to assist jurisdictions such as our small island developing state.

 “And to navigate through the maze to get to it, we need some assistance, and so Holland and Knight was identified as someone that could do it,” he stated.

 Prime Minister Davis said that it is being done by a corporate citizen who will pay for it.

 “I want to thank them publicly, but they want to remain anonymous for the time being. And we expect to see results from that. That is why I am confident that we would be able to deliver in short order our promises,” he stated.

Comments

KapunkleUp 4 months, 3 weeks ago

After already shafting people with property tax, I guess he needs to calm things down before starting up again. The 'Last Resort' will probably happen in less than 1 year from now.

3

sheeprunner12 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The main issue is the stealing, overpricing and lack of accountability in the Government's financial system. The rents and leases are overpriced. The building contracts are overpriced. Dead people pensions are still being collected and the pension bill is growing exponentially. Duplication of overtime monies/work orders etc goes unnoticed. The SOEs are bleeding millions daily. The Auditor General's reports into Government Department anomalies go unheeded. ........... And the list goes on.

Also, if the Government was to make better use of its human resources (civil service), then there will be less strain on the Treasury. With a $80 million per month wage bill, is the Government getting value for money?????

And we all agree .......... the Government is either being shafted by its present tax collectors or is unable/incapable of collecting the taxes that are on the books by other means ............. Maybe if it goes online, more may be collected. Maybe, if the rich Bahamians and the foreigners are not given all of the tax breaks ...............But who knows in 242???????????

3

KapunkleUp 4 months, 3 weeks ago

You hit a point with rents and leases. I've long thought that building a huge building (think pentagon size) to house all government offices in one place makes perfect sense and a lot cheaper long term. Government owns enough land to do this. Makes parking a non issue, no more rent/leases and all the space they need in one place. Probably still need a very small number of outlying offices but nothing on scale there is now.

0

Sickened 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Can't happen. Sebas and Mosko would never approve that - they lust for government rental income.

1

Emilio26 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Sickened you forget to mention the other oligarchs like Brent Symonette, Sir Franklyn Wilson and Rupert Roberts.

0

hrysippus 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Only those ignorant of how politicos spin announcements will take FIllUP's latest utterance as anything but a preamble to the introduction of new taxes. The only question here is will it increasing VAT TO 25%, Income Tax on everybody, or Property Tax on Out Island and undeveloped land.

2

Sickened 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Absolutely correct. This is just an introduction to put us on notice that Income Tax is coming soon. Definitely well before the next election.

0

Proguing 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Yep, he is just testing the waters here....

1

avidreader 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Exactly what the former administration had planned in the event that they were returned to office last September. We were warned that changes were in the pipeline. No government wants high unemployment and since talk of the stresses resulting from unchecked population increase apparently is "tabu", the solution is to impose taxes to maintain the facade of a prosperous economy. This solution works only for a limited time. The apparent higher standard of living in this country which has attracted many people from more crowded and unpleasant countries in many parts of the world, was maintained for many years on borrowed money that has to be repaid with interest. That is the reality that we have to face. Politicians are unwilling to address the deeper, underlying issues out of fear of a backlash at the polls.

1

TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Word of warning to "Brave" Davis.
t's vital that "Brave" Davis must withdraw from those responsible of de absurdness in de drip, drip governance confusion that keeps flowing down to de Popoulaces'OfCommeners' from behind walls of de office of premiership, ― Yes?

0

bahamianson 4 months, 3 weeks ago

We cant keep operating like this. Every year new taxes are introduced or existing taxes go up all because government cannot manage the money they have, waste money on usless projects ( baseball stadium) , or pilfering in every department. Along with those are salary increases, benefits and jobs for friends and lovers. How can we go on? It is unsustainable. We all will die from high blood pressure due to the stress of uncertainty of the future. Well, the only certainty is taxes will always go up regardless if you can afford to pay them.

1

Proguing 4 months, 3 weeks ago

The problem is that when you give politicians one dollar, they spend two, when you give them two dollars they spend four etc. as we have seen with VAT.

2

tribanon 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Bingo!

Feeding more tax dollars to any corrupt spendthrift government, especially the current one we have, is very much the equivalent of trying to put out a raging fire with gasoline.

0

TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Once again de Guardian's management responsible for de content of their talkie show's Comrade Mr. Carmichael aka committed trash talkin' disciple of Podcast host Joe Rogan who constantly spills out with authority that about science which neither don't know a damn thing about...And even when either de talkies, get backed into corner, we own slim to none having to admit to having spoken wrong, has also been known say, but, I've always pushed that way.
No Mr. Carmichael, its no joke that you wouldn't last on-air 24-hours as a US Talkie Show Host, ― Yes?

0

realfreethinker 4 months, 3 weeks ago

And how does he expect to get a surplus. "Taxes" of course. We are f..k.d

0

ThisIsOurs 4 months, 3 weeks ago

That means we at the last resort

0

John 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Many seem to forget this country and most of the world, is in a suspended or disrupted economy and not necessarily in recession. And according to Minnis dem, the economy was performing reasonably well before the pandemic. And, according to Brave dem, the economy is rebounding faster than expected and better than anticipated. If it is so, then why should there be utterances of new taxes or tax increases? Get up of your collective assets and stimulate the economy even more and let the revenue flow in. If the reports that hotel bookings are running 80-90 percent in this usually slow season, this may mean there will be a serious room shortage in the fall/winter. How can the country use this to their advantage? Cruise ship bookings may also be through the roof ad early as summer if Covid-19 continues to go into remission and if the brutal winter weather continues in the US for a few more months and repeats itself next winter. So yes, make tax increases your last resort.

0

M0J0 4 months, 3 weeks ago

lol we mess rite up prev.gov.aint even know where they throw the billions they borrowed and sadly we stuck with the bill, whiles many living now in brand new erected houses. My Bahamaland.

0

Sign in to comment