May 17, 2012
Minister of state for finance, Michael Halkitis.
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MINISTER of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government’s decision not introduce across the board Customs duty reduction with the looming implementation of value added tax (VAT) will prevent the government from “sinking further in debt” and avoid currency devaluation.
GOVERNMENT borrowing for the upcoming fiscal year will shrink to $343m compared to the $465m that was borrowed in the 2013/2014 fiscal year, State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday. Mr Halkitis said the government borrowed $512m in the 2012/2013 fiscal year.
SEEKING support from accountants for the government’s Value Added Tax plan, the Ministry of Finance said a change is needed to save the Bahamian economy.
MICHAEL Halkitis, Minister of State for Finance, has taken issue with a headline in yesterday’s Tribune.
THE government has not decided if there will be any compromises over its new aviation tax increases.
THE government hopes to wrap up the entire process of formulating the legislation and regulations that will govern Value Added Tax in the Bahamas by the end of the month, State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis told The Tribune yesterday.
THE Government’s real property tax amnesty has yielded just under $18 million to-date, a Cabinet Minister confirmed yesterday, with 1,000 new properties added to the Government’s database.
MINISTER of State for Finance Michael Halkitis yesterday deflected concerns that the decision to accept additional funds from the Chinese government has not been approved by parliament.
STATE Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis brushed aside assertions that a correction in the new 2013/2014 budget was evidence that the government broke the law in the last budget period when giving state ministers a $6,000 a year raise.
A $6,000 RAISE for state ministers – dismissed as nothing more than a “clerical error” by the cash strapped government in 2012 – was nevertheless granted, according to the 2013/14 budget documents.
Bahamian realtors have their “fingers crossed” that the Government will renew the first-time buyer Stamp Duty exemption for transactions worth $500,000 or less, with the issue now before the Christie Cabinet.
A Cabinet Minister yesterday said just six borrowers out of 147 deemed “potentially eligible” had qualified for help from the Government’s Mortgage Relief Plan.
A Cabinet Minister last night pledged to avoid “choking off the economy” in implementing a Value-Added Tax (VAT), telling Tribune Business: “The danger of that is at the forefront of our minds.”
AMID criticism over the government’s performance during its first year in office – especially in terms of job creation – State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government cannot allow such comments to “distract us from continuing to work”.
THE Government plans to have the legislation required to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT) system in place before January 2014, a Cabinet Minister yesterday saying the draft law might be ready as early as next week.
THE government does not consider its Mortgage Relief Plan a failure according to State Minister of Finance Michael Halkitis – despite the fact that it actually helped less than one per cent of the homeowners targeted.
ALTHOUGH the government’s mortgage relief programme flopped before anyone received assistance, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said officials have not given up on the plan to assist homeowners.
The Government is not planning to introduce “a broad-based corporate income tax”, as recently urged by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
THE Government’s will move to “beef up” enforcement of real property tax (RPT) collections once the existing amnesty programme finishes at end-June 2013, a Cabinet Minister saying it had generated interest among property owners.
THE Government expects its requests to borrow money this year will not exceed last year’s commitments with lending institutions, Minister of Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
MINISTER of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government will soon be able to embark on some of its capital works projects, as many of the major projects like the controversial New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP) will be coming off the books.
Cabinet ministers and officials from Customs, Labour, Finance and other government departments will be present when the Ministry of Finance hosts its first E-Government and Business Forum today at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.
THE government’s mid-year budget is a “fiscally responsible plan” that will get the country “ahead of the curve” without a need for drastic cuts to public programmes, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
The Government’s recurrent account “imbalance” grew by a sum equivalent to 1.7 per cent of GDP during the former Ingraham administration’s term in office, the minister of state for finance said yesterday.
MICHAEL Halkitis, State Finance Minister, said the government will be seeking authorisation for around $100m to cover the prior commitments of the former Ingraham administration.
The Government is estimating that implementation of a Value-Added Tax (VAT) will generate a $100 million net increase in its annual revenues, Tribune Business was told yesterday, with the new tax generating equivalent to 2 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
THE government expects to start consulting with members of the public this week on which food items and materials are to be exempted from value added tax (VAT).
THE government has asked all public institutions to go over their finances with a fine-tooth comb and to highlight where savings could be made.
The Government’s fiscal plans will eliminate just its recurrent - not the total - deficit, a Cabinet Minister yesterday explaining this would still be “a major step forward” if achieved.
A FORMER Bahamas Chamber of Commerce president said yesterday it was “not at all surprising” that some 35,000 properties that should be subject to real property tx (RPT) assessments were not in the Government’s database, again calling for this tax’s collection to be outsourced to the private sector.
THE Government is proposing to implement a Value Added Tax (VAT) on July 1, 2014, at a rate of 15 per cent, the Minister of State for Finance said yesterday, adding that the hotel industry would be subject to a lower 10 per cent rate.
THE GOVERNMENT is “very confident” that its guaranteed $250 million Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) bond issue will be fully suscribed, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday
The Government yesterday unveiled a planned $250 million bond to refinance the troubled Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), saying it was “the first step to rehabilitate” its financial position.
MICHAEL Halkitis, State Finance Minister, yesterday criticised former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham over his criticism that the government’s deficit projection was too high.
The Government yesterday estimated that it will recover 80 per cent, or $20 million, of the revenues it loses annually to tobacco smuggling via its Excise Stamp initiative, and disclosed it was looking at similar measures to combat illegal alcohol imports.
The Government is moving to tackle its “huge” unfunded pension liability to the public sector, a Cabinet Minister telling Tribune Business that the general lack of retirement savings was “a social timebomb” for the Bahamas.
OCCUPATIONAL pension fund assets in the Bahamas dropped by 38.6 per cent between 2007 and 2011 due to the recession, a Cabinet Minister said yesterday, adding that the Government’s proposed pension legislation represented a “major step forward” for regulation.
THE government is exploring “major initiatives” targeted at limiting the country’s expenditure and increasing revenue ahead of the delivery of the mid-year budget.
THE government’s mortgage programme has experienced some delays in bringing assistance to homeowners who a applied for relief, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
The House of Assembly will today begin debate on the proposed Employees Pension Fund Protection Bill, the Minister of State for Finance said yesterday.
THREE key government ministers give their insight into plans to redefine the country’s economic model in the latest edition of a Bahamas magazine.
Middle class Bahamian homeowners yesterday complained that their real property tax bills were “going through the roof”, in some cases doubling, as the Government moves to collect every cent it believes due to it.
A Cabinet minister last night said the latest Wall Street downgrade for the Bahamas reflected the fact the fiscal numbers were “out of whack”, with another rating agency expressing scepticism about the Government’s ability to stabilise the debt/deficit in the short-term.
The Bahamian commercial banking industry was yesterday reacting with alarm to indications that the Homeowners Protection Bill tabled in the House of Assembly contained few, if any, of the recommendations it made to “protect the integrity” of the financial system.
MINISTER of state for finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday that the government is continuing its audit of the former government’s 52-week job readiness and training initiative, despite shutting the programme down.
PRIME Minister Perry Christie told reporters yesterday that observers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have been informed that his administration has committed itself to fiscal prudence.
AS HUNDREDS of 52-week government job contracts continue to expire, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis says the initiative is presently under review amid calls for the programme to be extended.
MINISTER of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said the government is taking a “balanced approach” to growing the economy and better managing expenditure in an effort to prevent a downgrade of the Bahamas’ sovereign credit rating.
The Government is planning to release its Tax Reform White Paper for public consultation next month, a key Cabinet Minister yesterday telling Tribune Business the Government was “up to the task” of avoiding a further sovereign credit downgrade.
FREEPORT – The Commonwealth Electrical Workers Union is accusing the Grand Bahama Power Company of union busting and not engaging in good labour relations.
THE government has committed roughly $10 million to its mortgage relief plan according to Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis.
THE government’s proposed Borrowers’ Protection Bill is intended to protect borrowers from issues like arbitrary fee increases and ensure a code of conduct for lenders according to State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis.
THE government’s Mortgage Relief Plan will be in place by the first week of September, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
THE government is to amend the Bahamas Development Bank Act to make the bank “more responsive to the needs of clients in the modern environment”, the Ministry of Finance’s Parliamentary Secretary Michael Halkitis confirmed.
A government minister yesterday slammed Moody’s for being “uninformed” on the Government’s policy for regaining majority ownership of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC), adding that the administration would “lay all of the cards on the table” with the Wall Street credit rating agency next week.
MINISTER of State in the Ministry of Finance Michael Halkitis has launched his Golden Isles Kids Summer Camp.
COMPUTER systems at the Public Treasury went offline yesterday after a water leak damaged server equipment operating its e-government services.
THE GOVERNMENT has allocated more than $10 million towards salary increases for teachers and other public servants, according to State Minister for Finance Michael Halkitis.
THE GOVERNMENT has accelerated talks with several financial institutions, including the Central Bank, for a speedy but comprehensive Mortgage Relief Plan that is acceptable to all major stake holders, Minster of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
MINISTER of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, yesterday confirmed the imminent launch of a Bahamas Government Registered Stock (BGRS) issue, telling Tribune Business it was very likely it would come out early next month when the new fiscal year began.
The MINISTER of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, said yesterday that the Christie administration was holding to its pledge to provide some compensation for those businesses impacted by the New Providence Road Improvement Project (NPRIP), telling Tribune Business the Government was going to have to find creative solutions given the current fiscal situation.
THE Government has exceeded its Excise Tax revenue projections by almost 62 per cent for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, it was disclosed yesterday, collecting some $340 million during the final year of the Ingraham administration.
MINISTER of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, said yesterday that the Government is projecting an increase of about 5 per cent in recurrent revenue for the 2012-2013 fiscal year based on expected economic growth and improved revenue collection.
PERSONAL allowances will no longer be given to Ministers of State under the new government in an effort to ensure all state ministers earn the s
INITIAL comments from private sector lenders on the Christie administration's proposed mortgage relief plan have been "very positive", Minister of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, said yesterday, telling Tribune Business the administration should be in a position to formally present the plan before Parliament's summer recess.
THE MINISTER of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis, said yesterday that in developing the 2012-2013 Budget, the Christie administration inherited recurrent spending commitments of some $938 million with respect to personal emoluments and debt servicing.
The Securities Commission has warned Bahamas-based unrestricted investment fund administrators (UIFAs), in particular, to expect increased regulatory vigilance.
THE Government will execute a comprehensive analysis of all forms of taxation as it seeks to modernise the tax structure of The Bahamas. In addition
DESPITE comments by the chairman of the PLP, the government has yet to determine a "ball-park figure" of the country's budget deficit, State Finance Minister Michael Halkitis said yesterday.
MINISTER of State for Finance Michael Halkitis yesterday defended the government's proposed mortgage relief plan despite a negative and scathing review by a top Wall Street credit agency.