Government’s efforts not tied to long term vision
FNM and PLP place tax burden on poor and middle class
Blacklists will not stop; goalposts will continue to shift
Complacency is bane of current administration
IMF and TJN initiatives show delay of the inevitable
A recent report issued by the Tax Justice Network (TJN) placed The Bahamas on another tax haven list. The Corporate Tax Haven Index (CTHI) ranked our nation as number nine on an adverse list among ten jurisdictions with corrosive corporate tax policies.
This blacklist follows the passage of myriad legislation and implementation of regulatory changes by the government to ensure compliance with international standards. We have expended much time and resources on being removed from lists produced by international agencies while increasing the cost of doing business and concurrently reducing our competitiveness.
The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has repeatedly advised the current administration to adopt a more holistic approach and redefine the value proposition of The Bahamas as an International Financial Centre (IFC). It is regrettable that our recommendations have fallen on deaf ears by an administration that lacks or has failed to articulate a long-term vision for our country.
We call on the government once again to wake up from its self-induced slumber and substitute its rose-tinted glasses of naivety with clear lenses of the new global reality. The goalposts will continue to be moved and the prospect of a real level playing field is wishful thinking. The Bahamas must chart a new course which sheds the tax haven label and reposition itself as an IFC without the baggage associated with perceived inadequate tax practices.
The Free National Movement (FNM) and Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) have perpetuated a regressive and oppressive tax system on the backs of the working and middle class while taxing businesses on turnover rather than profits. The DNA submits that comprehensive tax reform which prioritizes the creation of a progressive and more equitable system of taxation is long overdue.
There is a direct correlation between the challenges we face as an IFC and the regressive tax system that both political parties have maintained for the benefit of special interest groups. The Bahamas is being held back by the complacency and lack of fortitude by a government that governs for a select few.
We remind the government that momentum is gathering around global corporate tax reform and they are only delaying the inevitable. They were elected to lead with vision, and it is their duty to put the interest of the nation ahead of that of a select few.
The proverbial clock is ticking and the future of our financial services industry hangs in the balance.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance