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What has been lost in the discussion about VAT, is the issue of the government's intention to gain accession to the world trade organization, and the requirement that barriers to trade such as duties be eliminated/reduced.
We have observer status and had submitted a membership application in May 2001. There was a second meeting of the working party to discuss accession in June 2012, and Mr. Pinder stated that WTO accession was an important part of the government's programme to accelerate trade and economic development as well as to create more and better jobs for Bahamians.
Obviously if import duties are reduced, additional revenue streams have to be developed.
Our deficit is of course unsustainable, and appropriate austerity measures need to be initiated, as well as improved efficiency in revenue collection. If we cannot appropriately manage our current simple tax structure, how can we effectively manage a VAT?
It is critical that there be debate about the value of WTO membership for the Bahamas, in order for the issue of our import duty tax system to be put in context.
Last login: Saturday, April 27, 2019
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