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Minnis touts FNM’s economic plan for The Bahamas

The Free National Movement (FNM) has an economic plan for The Bahamas that is currently being finalized, FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis told Guardian Business yesterday, though the plan may not be made available to the public right away.

Minnis suggested that he injects parts of the plan into many of his pronouncements when talking about the initiatives the FNM will implement if it is to become the next government.

Despite the worries and concerns that government might increase the percentage of value-added tax (VAT) Bahamians pay, Minnis said his government would be focused on decreasing taxes in order to shore-up the middle class and improve the financial position of the poor.

Minnis insisted that the figures that have been quoted by government concerning the country’s intake of tax dollars post VAT implementation means that the rate does not warrant an increase, but the revenue spend needs to be accounted for.

“They (Progressive Liberal Party) have been pissing away the money,” said Minnis.

“I don’t believe in increasing taxes, I believe in decreasing taxes and increasing opportunities. Increasing taxes is a lazy way out. When you don’t want to think, you just tax.”

Minnis said his party plans to eliminate VAT on certain items that should have never been included on the original list, such as electricity, water, education, health and certain bread basket items.

Minnis added that opportunities need to be created in the cultural sector in order to spur entrepreneurship and cause those business owners to develop, grow and export the country’s culture. An FNM government would look at creating a standalone ministry of culture that would feed the sector and help it to grow and flourish, according to the FNM leader.

“I’m a strong advocate of culture,” said Minnis.

And while the FNM may have been opposed to the government’s handling of the money for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, Minnis said they would continue to support it as a private entity and channel only its marketing through the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The people wanted it, so I wouldn’t scrap it, because I’ve always said privatize it,” said Minnis.

“I know quite a number of those involved who are pro-privatizing.”

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