By Keile Campbell
Prime Minister Philip Davis responded to several points brought up by the official Opposition; Free National Movement (FNM) leader Michael Pintard, concerning the Corporate Income Tax Green Paper released on the government’s website.
Mr. Pintard labelled the paper “half-baked” as he said the government released the paper on its website rather than table it in the House of Assembly.
“Not surprisingly, the PLP almost half-heartedly – and with no fanfare – trickled out its half-baked Corporate Income Tax Green Paper for consultation.
“Unsurprisingly, as is the way with the PLP, this Davis administration did not follow the Parliamentary convention on a matter of such policy importance where one would have expected a Ministerial communication from the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, after which the document would be laid on the table of the House of Assembly.
“This approach would have signaled to the country and the world the policy commitment of the government to this most critical matter,” Mr. Pintard said in a statement.
Further, he went on to say that “The FNM flatly rejects any proposal for any new or increased tax measure that does not also come with a plan.”
In a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister, Prime Minister Davis, who also holds the portfolio of Minister of Finance, noted that his administration’s corporate tax proposal is following through with an initiative made by the previous Dr. Hubert Minnis-led FNM administration which committed to the International Taxation Reform of the G20/Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), which pushes for a minimum of 15 percent global corporate tax.
Prime Minister Davis further underlined his point stating that former Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest “urged a rush to tax reform options” while alleging that current shadow Minister of Finance Kwasi Thompson also urges the Davis administration to take a comprehensive look at corporate tax.
The Prime Minister questioned why the Marco City Member of Parliament, did not voice his criticisms towards then Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.
Prime Minister Davis also expressed ‘confusion’ at Mr. Pintard’s critique considering the current Shadow Minister of Finance’s push for such tax reforms.
As for a response to accusations that he circumvented parliamentary procedure, Prime Minister Davis denied breeching any rule while expressing disappointment that the Opposition Leader Pintard “failed to comprehend the purpose of a consultation process”.
The Prime Minister brought into question Mr. Pintard’s own track record when it comes to fiscal strategy alleging that under the previous administration, Mr. Pintard voted for a 60 percent increase in Value-Added Tax (VAT) while affirming his own administration’s commitment to rebuilding the Bahamian economy post Hurricane Dorian and the Covid-19 pandemic.