January 7, 2022
FINANCIAL Secretary Simon Wilson.
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The Ministry of Finance’s top official last night voiced optimism that “a happy medium” is close over new Business Licence verification rules that were causing growing private sector anxiety.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday said he is targeting summer 2024 for the launch of an up to $200m fund that will finance renewable energy’s build-out across The Bahamas.
The Government yesterday unveiled policies to govern a near-$800m portfolio of loans and guarantees to state-owned entities, a senior official saying: “One transaction could throw everything awry.”
FINANCIAL Secretary Simon Wilson said the Exempt App has led to a 90 per cent increase in customer revenue at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, calling the customs app a “success story” despite complications some travellers have experienced.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday asserted that the 2023-2024 fiscal year is “very, very critical” for solidifying market confidence in The Bahamas with the cruise passenger departure tax hikes vital to achieving this.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday conceded that VAT revenues were likely to under-shoot their 2022-2023 target but voiced confidence that tougher enforcement will keep them on track in the current fiscal year.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official and a senior airline executive yesterday clashed over fears that Customs overtime fees will undermine The Bahamas’ ambitions to attract airlift “outside of peak hours”.
The Government’s bid to raise almost one-third of its near-$2.2bn gross financing needs for the 2023-2024 fiscal year from external banks is “looking very favourable”, a senior official revealed yesterday.
Bahamas-domiciled International Business Companies (IBCs) will have to pay tax on their overseas earnings from New Year's Day 2024 in an historic first for this nation, a senior official confirming: "The world has changed."
The Government was yesterday urged to "make it a new day" for long-suffering CLICO (Bahamas) policyholders amid concerns that zero of the $3.8m compensation allocated in the 2022-2023 Budget has been paid out.
The Ministry of Finance's top official yesterday said the $5.7m allocated for "balance sheet clean-up" at two loss-making government agencies will likely "widen" in upcoming fiscal years to other state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
The Ministry of Finance's top official yesterday asserted he is "very confident" the Government will increase revenues by $400m year-over-year, and slash its fiscal deficit by 75 percent, in the absence of new and/or increased taxes.
The Ministry of Finance's top official yesterday said insurers are "over reacting" to the consultation on holding a "minimum" 50 percent of their investments in government securities as he refuted fears it is "desperate for funds".
Government loans to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and agencies near-tripled during the first nine months of the current fiscal year to enable Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) to pay off its fuel bill arrears.
The Government cannot interpret two consecutive monthly Budget surpluses "as a sign we are out of the woods", its top finance official warned last night.
Petroleum retailers and wholesalers are studying “significant new ideas” proposed by the Government to foster greater competition - “but not at the expense of consumers” - in a bid to resolve the industry’s structural woes.
FINANCIAL secretary Simon Wilson said the government would finally begin publishing contract awards when the reporting capacity of its contract procurement system is improved.
The authorities are planning “several operations” throughout The Bahamas targeting other suspected tax delinquents, the Ministry of Finance’s top official revealed last night, while their Harbour Island sweep is still not finished.
TWO Harbour Island businesses raided last week collectively owe the government about $1.3m in taxes, financial secretary Simon Wilson said yesterday.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday warned tax deadbeats “there’s consequences for non-compliance” after several Briland businesses this week saw their assets seized over alleged unpaid debts to the Public Treasury.
Several courier companies have been temporarily barred from clearing imported shipments over their failure to pay up to “seven figures” in due taxes to the Government, a top official confirmed last night.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official says “everything is on the table” with VAT-related reforms, which could have raised medical costs for thousands of insured Bahamians, now not proceeding prior to the Budget at end-May.
The Government “may not” implement the new VAT treatment for medical insurance claims payouts by its April 1 target, it was revealed yesterday, with the decision hinging on a meeting with healthcare stakeholders later this week.
The Government granted almost $115m of Excise tax and Customs duty relief during the first half of the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the mid-year Budget documents have revealed.
The Government’s fiscal transparency drive has burdened decades-old accounting and payroll systems with legally-mandated reporting deadlines they are not equipped to meet, a top official is asserting.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official has voiced fears that the migration crisis could “throw our Budget off completely” with taxpayers incurring an additional $500,000 in costs for every 100 new arrivals reaching Bahamian shores.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official says business tenants must accurately identify their landlord to prevent 10-15 percent of real property tax bills from being returned annually to the Government without payment.
The Government’s top finance official yesterday reiterated his optimism that “no new tax measures” will be required to grow its revenues by some 43 percent to over $4bn during the next four years.
The Government and insurance industry last night traded blows over fears that Bahamian healthcare costs will further increase due to a new VAT treatment set to take effect from April 1, 2023.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday asserted “there’s no dispute” that the Government should receive a near-$13m VAT windfall from the sale of two cruise ships despite a legal challenge by their secured lender.
Bahamian companies will have their 2023 Business Licence renewals withheld if they fail to comply with the Government’s crackdown on tax dodging commercial property landlords, it was confirmed yesterday.
Incentives that sparked almost $202m of local investor demand for The Bahamas’ US dollar bonds has been “very, very significant” in driving an international debt turnaround, a senior official said yesterday.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official last night warned that Dorian-related tax breaks “cannot go on indefinitely” in their present form as they are costing the Public Treasury “probably $40m-$50m per annum or higher”.
The Government’s fiscal deficit for the 2022-2023 first quarter was slashed by $116m year-over-year, it was revealed yesterday, with its revenues running 4-5 percent ahead of projections.
Bahamian commercial banks have “significant capacity” to take on more government debt, the Ministry of Finance’s top official has asserted, after the national debt for the three months to end-September fell by $29m.
The Government has decided not to complete Bank of the Bahamas’ rescue by injecting $167m in cash to replace a “promissory note” after efforts to recover the latter’s toxic commercial loans proved “trickier” than anticipated.
The Government is employing satellite imagery and artificial intelligence (AI) to boost revenue collections that are 4-5 percent ahead of projections for the 2022-2023 fiscal year to-date, a top official disclosed yesterday.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday said he “won’t claim that victory yet” despite the prior fiscal year’s $689.5m deficit coming in almost $70m below the final projection outlined in May’s Budget.
The Government’s main revenue agency is targeting a further two-thirds expansion of its workforce to around 500 staff, a top official revealed yesterday, adding: “We have no staff in the Family Islands.”
The Ministry of Finance's top official yesterday said last week's Federal Reserve rate hike had "a very small" impact on interest costs tied to the $2.317bn in foreign currency debt held by external investors.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday reiterated that the Government has “no plans for any restructuring” of the $11.8bn national debt as he confirmed the hiring of an advisory firm to aid fiscal management.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday said there is “no victory lap yet” despite the Government’s modest $46.2m April surplus due to the continued existence of a likely “substantial tax gap”.
The Government has undertaken not to change the VAT treatment of private medical insurance claims until a full study is done, its top finance official asserting: "This is not about trying to get tax money."
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday said the Government’s “options are limited” in providing the relief sought by petroleum retailers struggling with gross margins of 10 percent or less.
The Government is owed more than $261m in “outstanding arrears” that were due for payment from three key revenue streams within the 21-month period to end-March 2022, it has been revealed.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday hit out at the “inflexibility” of the Government’s own financial management laws for forcing it to seek parliamentary approval to borrow an extra $251.4m.
The Bahamian economy’s “exceptional” post-COVID rebound justifies revisions of more than $200m in key Budget projections, top officials asserted yesterday, despite Opposition fears of a “disconnect” that will undermine fiscal credibility.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday the Government revenue is $210m above forecast for the 2021-2022 fiscal year-to-date and is expected to maintain that momentum through to end-June..
Restaurants will likely be the sector that produces the biggest increase in VAT payments due to the elimination of zero ratings and exemptions, the Ministry of Finance’s top official has predicted.
The Government is on track to collect $40m in real property tax arrears in 2022, a top official has revealed, while pledging that there have been “lessons learned” from the recent New Providence-wide revaluation.
FINANCIAL Secretary Simon Wilson said “everything is on the table” as a potential solution to soaring gas prices, including tax relief.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday said the Large Taxpayer Unit is “just the start” of major reforms as he revealed it is “highly probable” much of $900m in past due taxes will be collected.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official yesterday asserted that the Government’s $206.5m “repurchase” deal with Goldman Sachs “speaks volumes” to the credibility of its fiscal and economic plans.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official last night said he foresees “no issues whatsoever” over the Government’s ability to refinance $2bn in domestic debt coming due for repayment by June 2022.
The Government will meet with the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) to address what a senior official described as "misguided" concerns over real property tax revaluations.
The Ministry of Finance’s top official says the rebounding economy will help the Government restrain public sector wages to $660.5m in four years’ time - a sum $10m below the current Budget.
THE additional $31m needed to complete the Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium is part of $1 billion in unfunded obligations facing the government, according to Financial Secretary Simon Wilson.
The Government will bridge the “gap” to its $1.3bn revenue increase with “additional measures” in the upcoming mid-year Budget as it faces criticism for “very extreme” fiscal forecasts.
FINANCIAL Secretary Simon Wilson says the government has yet to disclose contract awards as the Public Procurement Act mandates because no chief procurement officer has been appointed.
FINANCIAL Secretary Simon Wilson says finance experts have been challenged in gleaning the necessary information to determine a true picture of the former Minnis administration’s COVID-19 emergency spending.