As we await the presentation of the 2017/2018 Budget, and as discussions on the cost of goods and services and the cost of doing business continue, here are several key questions we will be awaiting answers to:
1 – Is the government considering a repeal of the Value Added Tax Act provision that mandates VAT be charged on customs duties?
2 – When will we see further and substantial elimination of customs duties?
3 – What will be the specific considerations given to the current levy of business license fees?
4 – To account in part for revenue shortfalls that would occur due to any revenue measures that may be introduced connected to points 1-3 or otherwise, will consideration be given to taxing the services provided by numbers houses?
5 – Is there a definitive or near definitive timeline for any of these considerations or potential measures that would not be able to be implemented for the 2017/2018 Budget?
6 – To what extent has the government definitively assessed how a reduction in VAT on breadbasket items would impact the overall affordability in real terms, of these items – when all associated factors including the impact on VAT operations itself, are considered? What assessments have been made on how carrying out this revenue measure by businesses might impact the cost of doing business and ultimately the cost of produce and grocery items generally?
7 – To what extent has the government definitively assessed how promised VAT exemptions will impact how VAT may have to consequently be assessed otherwise – re: the current rate of VAT, etc?
8 – As an offshoot to points #2 and #3, and moving beyond a singular focus on breadbasket items, what are the government’s plans to address the need for healthier food items to be more affordable to the masses? Many of the food items that are duty-free are the least healthy of options. And then there are the various import charges that impact pricing. Many of us would love to be able to truly eat clean, but cannot afford to do so (outside of growing one’s own food). I acknowledge that this issue should not be looked at in a vacuum, and should also be viewed in the context of what needs to be a national revolution on the matter of healthy lifestyles.