Business community braces for VAT rollout

Business community braces for VAT rollout

With less than one week remaining before the government rolls out its 12 per cent hike to value-added tax (VAT), business owners in New Providence are racing against the clock to ensure that their businesses are compliant with the new tax regime.

While the government gave businesses owners a little over one month to prepare, it’s a timeline that some say was too close for comfort.

“We will not be ready for the VAT rollout,” admitted Keith Miller, assistant manager at Super Value Cable Beach.

“There are a lot of products that will have to be priced all over again.

“I think the customers are gonna be confused. They have expectations, they expect (breadbasket) prices to drop suddenly on July 1. But, it’s not gonna happen immediately. So, I think the government needs to inform the general public that there is a process and they have to be patient.”

Meanwhile, Erika Robinson, proprietor of Da Glass Kitchen, told Eyewitness News that she is now in the process of trying to craft new ideas to ensure that her business stays afloat.

“My business has no choice other than to be ready for VAT,” exclaimed Robinson.

“I have to think of ways to create specials for example. Luckily, in this business, I have that mobility where I can be creative.

“We want to be affordable and we want the consumer to be able to continue to eat because this is disposable income (that they use to purchase from us). For most persons, if the prices get too high, they are going to start to prepare food at home.”

She asserted that this could possibly lead to a decline in overall sales.

Despite the possible fall off in revenue, Robinson said that her establishment will be VAT ready by the weekend.

Other local businesses like Forsythe’s Communications told Eyewitness News that the process to prepare for the 12 per cent VAT implementation was an easy one.

The company, which specializes in the sale of technological gadgets, confirmed that the establishment is not only VAT ready, but they also do not expect to lose their customer base post-July 1.

“We were able to reprice all of our items within one week,” said Andrew Knowles, manager.

“Most of our stuff is stock items and it won’t be a problem for us. It’s just the other persons that have smaller items and a lot of them that might have an issue.”

Carey’s Fabric and Uniform store is one business establishment which has lots of products to price and no extra time to get it all done.

But according to the store’s owner Kim Carey, the business is ahead of the eight ball.

“It was definitely time-consuming but we recognize that this is something that has to be done and so we are complying with it,” shared Carey.

“We will definitely be VAT ready.”

Carey is one of a number of local business owners who will benefit from the sweeping tax exemptions that government introduced in the new fiscal budget.

The fabric store will no longer have to pay duty on its material imports.

“We are quite pleased and excited about the fact that fabrics will be duty-free and we intend to pass that on to all of our customers,” she revealed.

Some business have introduced pre-VAT sales in an effort to bolster revenue ahead of the new tax regime.

But while that might provide some incentive for consumers to stock up on goods, businesses remain on the fence as to whether it will help to cushion the possible decline in sales once the 12 per cent tax materializes.