Opposition Member of Parliament for St James Central Kerrie Symmonds Tuesday morning described as “nothing short of disgraceful”, Government’s near two-year delay in formally increasing the tax threshold for small businesses.
Speaking during parliamentary debate on the Value Added Tax Amendment Bill 2017, Symmonds also condemned Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler for only now formalizing the measure, which he had announced in his 2015 Budget.
Sinckler also got a tongue-lashing from the Opposition MP for “failing” to prioritize the VAT-exempted revised Basket of Basic Food Items, which was also addressed in that same Budget.
With respect to the threshold that has been increased from $80,000 to $200,000, Symmonds was particularly upset that Government kept small businesses waiting for nearly two years to benefit from this measure.
He pointed out that the administration of the VAT was time consuming and financially costly for many one-door enterprises, while arguing that it made no sense for Government to try to go after only about three per cent of the business sector to achieve negligible revenue returns.
“It is really a reflection on the failure of this Government to be able to execute,” he suggested. “For this very simple matter to have been lying in abeyance for nigh two years, is nothing short of disgraceful,” he stressed. Symmonds also accused Government of spinning top in mud with respect to the increase in the threshold from $80,000 to $200,000 while citing the International Monetary Fund study on tax reform in Barbados which recommended that the threshold would be more beneficial at $300,000.
He therefore urged Sinckler to tell Parliament why he did not accept the IMF’s recommendation.