Government Once Again Fails To Bring VAT Bill When Promised – A Foreshadowing Of The Problems To Come

VATINFOThe government said their new VAT Bill would be tabled in June. We now know that will not happen – again. Every single time the government has pledged to table the VAT Bill by a certain time frame, they refused to do so. It is now only 5 months left before VAT is supposed to come into effect, and what is critical about that this time, is that VAT will now be charged on items and services the government originally said would not attract VAT. So the VAT Bill should have already been tabled and given to us so we can begin to prepare ourselves for the tax itself and the cost increases we originally thought we wouldn’t have to pay.

VAT is a technical tax. If it is poorly administrated, that will further add to the damage the VAT tax alone is going to cause to our economy. The fact that the government has repeatedly failed to produce their own VAT Bill to Parliament is a strong indication that they are not able to properly administrate this tax – which means they are going to add strain to the pain of VAT. And since the government is not even paying salaries and operational expenses on time, businesses can forget about getting their VAT refunds from the government in a timely manner – it is not going to happen.

Once the Budget debate ended in the House, the very next Bill that was supposed to be tabled was the VAT Bill. The fact that the government instead announced their immediate plans to table their Numbers House Bill when the VAT Bill still hasn’t materialized shows where their priorities lie. VAT now has a fixed deadline of January 1, 2015. How does getting a few numbers bosses straight trump that national deadline insofar as Parliament’s agenda is concerned? The government is once again putting the wants of a few before the needs of an entire nation. They are more concerned about getting the international community to accept their bid to legitimize racketeering, than ensuring that The Bahamas is ready for VAT. We are not at all ready – and the less ready we are, the more we all are going to suffer as a country.

Bahamians – please try to hold on to whatever money you can and spend very wisely, because as of January 2015, life as we all know it economically is going to change – and not in a good way.

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