EDITOR, The Tribune.
The PLP fooled the Bahamian people on the campaign trail. They said they would lower VAT. That sounded good. No one likes paying taxes. Everyone wants taxes lowered.
What the PLP did when they won the election was something none of us imagined a caring and responsible party would do. They put a 10 percent VAT on previously zero-rated breadbasket foods while lowering VAT from 12 to 10 percent on other things.
Breadbasket items are the foods poor and working-class people eat most. They are the foods they budget for in order to feed their families.
Successive governments have kept taxes off these foods to give relief to the poor.
Prime Minister Philip Davis has done wrong by struggling Bahamians. I cannot understand how it makes sense to him that his government should create a new tax on the food poor people eat.
The new PLP Breadbasket Tax is contributing to the inflation that is hurting Bahamian families. The pandemic and global supply chain disruptions also play a role. However, the PLP’s VAT on breadbasket items is one of the main causes of the high prices at the food stores for various items.
Mothers who budgeted a certain amount to feed their children now cannot afford all the food they used to buy. This is a real world consequence of the bad policy decision made by the PLP.
Former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis was right to attack the PLP on the issue in the House of Assembly on Wednesday.
“I call on the new administration to remove VAT from breadbasket items. Have a heart, man,” Minnis said.
“Reverse the bad policy that is causing some food prices to be so expensive.
“They should apologize to the people and reverse the disastrous policy of taxing breadbasket items and this government must realize that many Bahamians are recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic on our economy.
“It will take a long time before many of our citizens get back to financial positions pre-COVID.
“This was the wrong time to stress poor and working-class Bahamians with more taxes.”
The PLP must remove this heartless tax. It is an attack on the poor. It is disgraceful.
The government should be working on ways to reduce inflation, not ways to make it worse.
Dr Minnis has started the call for the reversal of VAT on breadbasket items so there could be relief for the poor in these difficult times. Church leaders, unions and civic groups should also pressure the government to remove the VAT on breadbasket items.
It is uncaring to make food more expensive for those who are least able to afford it.
THE MACKEY STREET MAN
February 17, 2022.