NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, K. Peter Tunrquest last Friday alluded that the taxation of the gaming industry is one of the government’s solutions to increase government revenue.
“I expect to collect the government’s revenue, point blank,” Turnquest said.
“I am disappointed that the [gaming] industry has taken the stance that it has taken.
“Nonetheless, we continue to press on to have constructive dialogue with the industry to come to an understanding about why government has taken the position it has taken.
“In terms of how much revenue has been lost to-date, I hesitate to say the number, but it is quite significant. But, at the end of the day we expect that government’s revenue will be collected,” he said.
Turnquest was sharing his thoughts with media regarding the country’s current economic state last Friday morning, following the Public Treasury’s Leadership Symposium held at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel.
Last August 2018, gaming house operators filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking leave for judicial review and an injunction of the government’s proposed stamp tax on its patrons and the sliding scale gaming tax.
The move prompted the government to avert imposing the taxes, and instead, seek to have further discussions with gaming house operators to come to an agreement on the way forward.
On Friday, Turnquest said the government will not back down from what it deems as a necessary move.
The Finance Minister also reaffirmed the government’s commitment to change the country’s economic climate by ensuring that economic failure is a thing of the past.
“There’s no doubt that the way that we had been operating the finances of the country is not sustainable. But, we will set the country on a course that is sustainable and put us on a sound footing financially moving forward,” Turnquest stated.
While he did not reveal which streams of government revenue are suffering a loss, the finance minister noted that statistics are showing that the road ahead may prove to be brighter than the country’s current position.
“We are dealing with the backlog of arrears that continue to throw us off balance a bit. Our revenues are trending just a little bit below where we anticipated them to be at this point, but we do see convergence as issues of value-added tax (VAT) implementation continues to settle we are seeing the conversion toward our projections,” he revealed.
“We anticipate that to the extent that we fall outside of scope this year, which we don’t anticipate, that we will have to – in the next fiscal year – make adjustments to ensure that we come back in line to meet our overall three-year medium-term target.”