Wednesday, January 17, 2007

VAT woes...

VAT…VAT…and more VAT.

Since January 2, Guyana has gone VAT crazy and consumers may soon run crazy with all those high prices attributed to the new tax system.

Puri has gone from $80 to $100. Most beverages now cost $20 more. So where is the much talked about and promised reduction in prices? Its somewhere out there, very invisible.

The Government and its “Tax pit bull”, Khursid Sattaur has lied to this nation, choosing instead to cast blame on unscrupulous businesses for the skyrocketing prices. It is true that Guyana, with one of the highest inflation rate in the Caribbean, also has the highest VAT rate of 16 %.

A weaken opposition, unions that have been bought and spineless Guyanese have allowed this administration to persists along this devious path.

CN Sharma seems to be the only one effectively opposing the entire façade. Opposition Leader Robert Corbin has become so insignificant that he has now forced to weigh-in on Sharma’s justice scale by joining a March organized by CN. The march on Saturday did little to drive home the point that Guyanese are vexed about VAT, but another March, this Thursday and Friday will test the strength of the PNCR-1G.

Sharma has shown his worth by using his television station to force the Tax pit bull to scurry down to CNS studios to rebut claims by Sharma about VAT.

Fact is the government said that VAT would replace eight existing Taxes. Instead it has replaced only six. Then they said that VAT will result in massive price reductions…The Mighty Rebel put it best when he said: “All of that was lie…pon de radio and television they telling lies.”

President Bharrat Jagdeo a week before the implementation of the new system announced that there will be some teething problems, but did not say that consumers would have been the ones left with those teeth marks.

Why did he wait so late to express concerns about the implementation of VAT, where were these concerns all the time.

The administration said that VAT was not designed to increase the administration’s coffers. Lie again. If this was true, why not extend the period of stock relief beyond December so that consumers would not have to pay double TAX. The fact is that businesses have to charge VAT, and no businessman in his right senses would remove a Tax that he has already paid from the mark-up price.

There are so many unanswered questions, yet the President seeks to play hide and seek.

Where is the captain of the ship, which has sprung a leak?

Hope he is not off to one of those casinos already?

Consumers are sinking…they are paying the price of a government that has failed to utilize the policing mechanisms in place to collect revenue and stop the smuggling of goods.

Total failure!