NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas should ‘do away’ with Value-Added Tax (VAT) and introduce a 15 percent sales and service tax ‘across the board’, a well-known doctor has suggested.
Ophthalmologist Dr Jonathan Rodgers made the charge while addressing the Bahamas Business Outlook on Thursday.
“We need to change the tax structure, do away with VAT, do away with import duties and simply have a 15 percent sales and service tax across the board,” Rodgers said.
“Everyone would pay regardless of income even the churches. This would provide enough income for government, bring down the cost of living and increase economic activity.”
This was one of several suggestions offered by Rodgers to stimulate the Bahamian economic and service as a ‘resiliency booster’.
Rodgers also suggested that Bahamians be allowed greater access to Crown Land for both residential and commercial use.
He continued: “We have 2.5 million acres of Crown land land out there doing nothing. What we need to do is form a financial bank, state owned, and backed by Crown land, capitalize it $100 million dollars and allow Bahamians to buy land at very low rates of interests for residential and commercial use.
“That way you are putting the land to use and it’s not sitting there and only available for friends, lovers and whoever is associated with who is in charge.”
Rodgers also backed the further relaxation of exchange controls, noting that the Central Bank has been on that track.
“We have a chronic US dollar shortage,” he said.
“We have to borrow money every year to supplement the reserves. A lot of our US dollar obligation comes from the underground economy. We need to get more US dollars coming into the country.
“One of simple ways would be to allow hotels like Atlantis and Baha Mar to pay Bahamians in US dollars,” he added.