Fri 6th Sep 2013

Abolish VAT now - its punishing our people

VAT must be abolished now. VAT is punishing businesses and punishing our people.

VAT is a regressive tax, used by government that lack the ability to think financially. VAT disproportionally affects poor and low income households, as it takes proportionally a greater amount from people on lower incomes. For this reason alone, VAT should never have been brought in to the SVG economy. Its use illustrates that the ULP regime are lost when it comes to finance and economics.

VAT is stifling the economy and is the biggest barrier to stimulating economic growth. Ask businesses and they will confirm this. Analysis of our economy shows that VAT is a major disaster for SVG economy.

In 2006, SVG had a fiscal deficit of $52 million. VAT was introduced in 2007 to help the economy, however, by 2013 SVG's fiscal deficit had shot up to $114 million. Analysis has shown that the ULP regime actually ran out of revenue in 2008 and created a massive bank overdraft of $185 million at the late National Commercial Bank.

This ULP regime's economic incompetence and $185 million overdraft killed the NCB. The ULP regime has lost it way and has shown that it cannot competently manage finance and the SVG economy. In 2008, the ULP regime failed an audit of the public accounts conducted by the Director of Audit of Public Accounts.

VAT is sucking the lifeblood out of poor households and killing our economy. Money is not circulating around our country. VAT has decimated the rural economy and caused many businesses to close down and fire employees. VAT has caused thousands of job losses.

In St. Lucia, President of the St. Lucia Manufacturers Association Paula Calderon said that many manufacturers are consumed with dealing with these VAT policy issues as opposed to devoting their time running their businesses. Calderon, who owns and operates Caribbean Awnings, says she personally feels like closing down her business because she is past the point of frustration.

President of the St. Lucia Small Business Association Flavia Cherry has also warned that she expects several struggling small businesses to go under with the introduction of the VAT.

A Green government will abolish VAT in order to resuscitate our economy and get money circulating around our people. There is too much pain being suffered by poor and low income families.

VAT is opposed in The Bahamas. Paul Moss, head of Dominion Management Services, told Tribune Business that VAT was 'non-Bahamian' and being imposed on this country by outside forces, such as the IMF.

He said, the reason those people think they can impose VAT on The Bahamas is because our leaders are lazy, and don't think about how to grow the economy and raise taxes. 'They don't tax those who need to be taxed; the companies. You have companies making millions of dollars in a tax-free environment. It is not only scandalous but irresponsible for our leaders to let it happen'.

SVG has the same scandalous problem. In order to combat this and raise revenue for our people, a Green government will tax the super-rich of Mustique and Canouan. This will alleviate the need for poor families to pay so much tax.

VAT has failed to help our people. Abolish it now.

SVG Green Party

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