IMBALANCE: Gov’t to boost revenue collection in the Family Islands

IMBALANCE: Gov’t to boost revenue collection in the Family Islands
Financial Secretary Simon Wilson

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Financial Secretary Simon Wilson said yesterday that the government is moving to correct the revenue collection “imbalance’ in the Family Islands by making it a year long as opposed to a seasonal exercise.

Wilson revealed that the Family Islands generate 30 percent of the country’s economic activity but only five percent of government revenue during a weekly press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister.

He said that so far this year some 97 additional persons have been hired at the Department of Inland Revenue to assist with revenue administration.

He added that a proposal has been submitted to the government for additional staff in the family islands to handle revenue collection. 

“We have put a proposal to the government based on advice for staff on the family islands,” Wilson said.

“The family islands account for 30 percent of our economic activity and only five percent of revenue. There is an imbalance. It’s easy to explain when you realize that in many family islands, outside of one to two Customs Officers there is no one there directed to revenue.”

He continued: “We want to make revenue administration a year-long activity in the family islands as opposed to seasonal and broaden it from just Customs,” said Wilson, noting that increasing revenue collection in the family islands is part of the government’s effort towards hitting its revenue target of 25 percent of GDP by the 2025/26 fiscal year. We have a clear strategy for the family islands and that is part of us achieving this 25 percent of GDP.” 

Wilson also noted that the government is making significant progress in its efforts to collect outstanding property tax.

He noted that the government is collecting roughly $7 million a month in outstanding property taxes “through a variety of means.”

Wilson yesterday also touted the improved performance of the government’s bonds in the international markets.

He said: “Take a look at our yield curve. I just got a note (this morning) from Rothschild, a congratulatory note indicating that our bonds have improved tremendously. We had an inverted yield curve and that curve has now flattened. We are now performing better given the things that we are doing.”