Finance minister addresses Chamber on tax

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – In continued efforts to secure support for the full implementation of the taxes on allowances and benefits initiative, Minister of Finance Harold Lovell met with businesspersons at the Antigua & Barbuda Chamber of Commerce and Industry-sponsored breakfast forum yesterday, at Grand Royal Antigua Beach Resort.

Lovell expressed his commitment to partnering with the private sector, calling for “good corporate citizenship.”

“Government also looks to the private sector to help stimulate economic growth and development and for the private sector to be an integral partner in the process of nation building,” he said.

The minister also conveyed the need for government reformation and transparency, saying,  “We need to make government more responsible, more responsive and more accountable … This is something I believe the nation is really looking for and hoping for.”

However, Lovell stressed the fact that businesspersons are mandated to contribute to revenue through taxes.

“We don’t’ like the idea that some people appear to be carrying the weight and we want everyone to pay their fair share,” he said.

When asked by OBSERVER Media if he believed the business community was on board with the plan, Lovell said, “Most people would obviously be in a wait-and-see mode. The answers were provided, but as in many cases of this nature, people want to hold our feet to the fire and they’ll want to see if I am good or true to my word.”

Lovell also said that, of the 1,200 persons identified in the middle tax bracket – a bracket that includes many business owners and professionals – only 25 per cent, or 300 persons are currently compliant with tax law. He said that the registration process has already begun to bring the additional 900 persons into compliance.

A quarterly report will now be produced to track revenue and expenditures. The first report is slated to be available in April.

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