The FNM calls for the abolition of VAT on medicines and the breadbasket – Eye Witness News

FNM calls on government to reduce travel and expand social protection

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Opposition Leader Michael Pintard yesterday called on the government to immediately reverse its decision to reinstate VAT on medicines, foodstuffs and other items that were previously zero-rated.

Michael Pintard, leader of the Free National Movement

Pintard said the Free National Movement (FNM) supported expanding the VAT-free list to include other essential food supplies as it challenged the government to enter into good faith talks with the Bahamas Pharmacy Association and the Retail Grocers Association to come up with a viable solution. the solution.

He outlined several measures the government could provide economic relief as he lambasted the government for what he saw as another failure to consult ahead of major policy changes.

“We challenge the government to help pharmacies reopen to ensure Bahamians have access to the medicines they need,” he said in a statement.

“This could be done by arranging a goodwill, honest and respectful meeting with the companies involved to find a workable solution.”

He continued: “The Davis administration and all stakeholders must continue to work together to determine concrete steps that can be taken to reduce prices and help the poor and vulnerable – but in a way that does not compromise the Bahamian companies that provide the goods, services and employment. to the public.

Pintard called for the expansion of the Social Services Voucher Program to provide direct support to eligible families to help them purchase essential medicines and groceries.

He suggested the government restore the property transaction tax of more than $2 million and end “illegal tax breaks” on purchases of yachts and pleasure boats.

“Because FNM believes in fiscal discipline and order, we are offering the following to help offset revenue losses due to VAT cuts and increased spending on social service support programs,” did he declare.

Halve allowances for overseas travel, for consultants, and for celebrations and special events. This would provide tens of millions of dollars in budget allocations to support increased spending on social protection programs.

“We hasten to remind the public that this government increased travel and consultations in its first full budget, June 2022, while significantly reducing the social services allocation.”

Pintard also called on the government to act quickly to protect local businesses like the Bahamian Brewery and Beverage Co.

“It was a colossal mistake on the part of the government to change the law in such a way as to create a significant competitive disadvantage for this local outsider, while massively favoring the considerable market leader, a company majority owned by a global conglomerate and which locally, already exceeds the much smaller BBB by 4 to 1.”

He added, “We demand that the government address this issue immediately and put in place programs that relieve inflation in a way that does not harm Bahamian businesses.”

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