By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
KWASI Thompson, MP for East Grand Bahama, has called on the Government to provide timelines for when it will announce dates for “critical” VAT-free initiatives that would provide savings to Bahamians locally.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, he said the Davis administration has not provided several weeks of VAT-free shopping to Bahamians for Back to School or Hurricane Preparedness.
“The Opposition is concerned that the government has yet to announce the dates of the VAT Holidays for Back to School or for Supplies for Hurricane Preparedness,” Mr Thompson said.
The VAT Holidays, he said, were started by the previous FNM administration to provide for several weeks of VAT-free local shopping for specific goods.
The former Cabinet minister noted that since the initiatives were introduced by the Free National Movement Government, Bahamian taxpayers have had two VAT-Free Back to School initiatives and one VAT-Free Hurricane Supplies initiative.
“We remind the government that these VAT-free holidays have generated millions of dollars in aggregate savings for thousands of Bahamian households since inception.
“We call on the government to provide the public immediately with the timelines for these critical initiatives, which are even more important now given the impact of recent significant price inflation,” said Mr Thompson.
Mr Thompson said that while ordinary Bahamians struggle due to inflation, the wealthy receive a tax break.
“We cannot imagine that the same government which has sought to sneak in a tax break for owners of million-dollar yachts has decided not to provide several weeks of VAT-free shopping for school uniforms, bags, shoes, and the full range of school supplies for Bahamian parents struggling under the weight of massive inflation,” he said.
“We cannot fathom that the same government, which reduced the VAT rate on high-end luxury homes over $2m, does not see fit to give a break to Bahamians preparing for a hurricane season that is already upon us.”
Mr Thompson demands that the government advises Bahamians when they can expect to see the VAT-free holidays.