While speaking at a press conference on Monday morning, (1st November), PAM’s leader, Mr. Lindsay Grant indicated that though the government sees the VAT as their new cash cow, the issue at hand is not solely more revenue collection, but rather it has to do with the poor spending habits of the current administration.
Mr. Grant argued that if the VAT increases government’s revenue but they still continue to spend in a reckless fashion, the country will continue to find itself with a huge National Debt and annual deficits.
The PAM Leader is of the opinion that if government does not implement urgent corrective measures, we may soon see the VAT levels increasing from 17% to a higher amount.
The poor state of affairs is a direct result of the mismanagement of the economy, by the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister, Dr. Denzil Douglas and his uncaring Labour Administration, said Mr. Grant.
Grant stated that the Government is introducing the Value Added Tax because the country is broke and heading to bankruptcy.
“The country is broke because of the wasteful and reckless spending of a government that is clouded in secrecy and deceit about the financial management of the treasury”, said the opposition politician.
“VAT is being introduced because over the past 15 years, Labour has wasted our tax dollars on mysterious projects such as La Valley. On this project alone, Government has spent over $USD250 million and to date they have not given any account on where the money has gone”, said the PAM Leader.
Grant said, over the last 15 years, the Peoples Action Movement has been warning the Government and informing the nation about the wanton spending and squandering of the country’s scarce resources.
He said that they have also drawn to the public’s attention, the fact that, Labour’s careless spending would one day come back to haunt us, if left unchecked. He said “That day is upon us today”.
In his assessment of the financial situation today, Mr. Grant said that, “While we are facing all these challenges, the government today has said to the people, although you are having it hard, although you are going through very challenging times, the government is today embarking on one of the most regressive taxes known to man, in the form of the Value Added Tax or VAT”.
It was also Grant’s argument that “The tax will certainly affect the poor and vulnerable like no other has, or will. The very nature of the tax means that it will attack the pockets of those working at the industrial site, and those working just above the minimum wage, like nothing they have experienced before”.