Joint Press Statement Ministry of Finance and Coalition for Responsible Taxation

Authored by: Ministry of Finance
Source: Ministry of Finance
Date: November 19, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas, November 19, 2013: The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation Coalition for Responsible Taxation (the Coalition) and the Ministry of Finance (the Ministry) met on early in November to commence discussions regarding the issues related to the state of the fiscal affairs of The Bahamas, the need for tax reform and expenditure management, and the various options available to the Government in its efforts to turn the tide of fiscal deficits and increasing debt levels.

At the meeting, consensus was arrived at on the following issues:

  1. the state of the fiscal affairs of The Bahamas was at a critical stage and requires urgent attention and action;
  2. there is a need for tax reform as part of the solution to the fiscal challenges of the country, coupled with sustainable action in the area of the expenditure control by the Government; and
  3. the Government’s plan for fiscal reform, including new tax initiatives, should be the subject of broad based consultation. Such a plan should involve the greatest collaboration possible among the Government, the private sector and cross-section of constituents, while protecting the goal of timely development and implementation.

In respect to point (iii) the Ministry welcomes the creation of the Coalition and views it as an additional and major conduit for consultation with the private sector.

With respect to the issues surrounding the introduction of the Value Added Tax, the Coalition has presented to the Ministry a report setting out macroeconomic concerns, including among others, the possible negative impacts on price levels and economic activity, the proposed timeline for implementation and the revenue administration strategy to ensure enforcement.

The initial discussions between the Coalition and the Ministry on the matters raised were meaningful and established a commitment from each entity to have regular, structured, results-oriented dialogue on the matters already raised, and other issues related to the plan for fiscal reform, going forward.