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Bahamas: “IRRESPONSIBLE”: Minister of state for finance says PLP VAT pledge would lead to $100M revenue falloff

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson yesterday blasted the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) pledge to reduce value-added tax (VAT) from 12 to 10 percent for 12 months as “irresponsible”, stating that such a move would lead to dramatic revenue falloff in excess of $100 million.

Thompson said in a statement: “It is regrettable that the opposition would use a matter as serious as our fiscal and economic health to choose to engage in rank populist politicking. They will say anything to win an election.

“We remind the opposition that the government operates under the Fiscal Responsibility Legislation — enacted by this administration — precisely to eliminate the kind of arbitrary and self-serving positions put forward by the shadow minister of finance (Chester Cooper) over the weekend.

“The opposition’s plan would lead to a dramatic falloff in revenue likely in excess of $100 million during their proposed 12-month period, at a time when the country’s fiscal resources are under tremendous strain and the needs for government to support social and economic programmes are even more pronounced.”

On Sunday, while unveiling its 10-point economic plan to “Recover, Rebuild and Revolutionize” the Bahamian economy, the PLP promised that if elected to govern, it would recommend the country’s minimum wage be increased to $250 per week and reduce VAT to 10 percent “across the board” for 12 months.

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