Optics of the VAT increase
It seems to me that the government of the day continues to overlook opportunities to maintain its connection with the people it was elected to serve.
In my opinion, a VAT increase of 12 percent would have been tolerable for most, if not all Bahamians, if the government had the common sense to do several things. Firstly, they should remember that VAT was implemented to pay down the national debt and for no other purpose. They should have simply showed the Bahamian people how much VAT they collected since they were in office thus far and how those monies were spent. If all VAT proceeds were in fact used to pay down the national debt and the government wanted to increase VAT to 12-15 percent to continue to decrease our debt burden, I honestly don’t think most Bahamians would disagree with that at all. In that regard, the government would have shown that they can be trusted to keep their word. I suspect, though, that this is not the case at all, and it is that sentiment which makes the VAT increase odious to Bahamian taxpayers.
The problem is the government is collecting a tax which was to pay down the national debt while borrowing approximately $1 billion in the past fiscal year and not taking adequate austerity measures themselves. They can talk all they want. The optics of this increase are terrible and this didn’t have to be.