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News Report: Chamber - Current budget exercise one of the most important

Published by Paige McCartney, Nassau Guardian News, May 30th, 2022

Chairman of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) Khrystle Rutherford-Ferguson said yesterday that the ongoing budget exercise is “arguably one of the most, if not the most, important” for The Bahamas at this time.

Last week, Prime Minister Philip Davis outlined a number of tax breaks and reforms to help bolster government revenue while also alleviating some of the hardship Bahamians have been experiencing amid rising inflation.

Among them are a reduction in real property rates for commercial property, lowering the customs and excise taxes on dozens of food items, building and electrical materials as well as manufacturing parts, reintroducing business license fees for commercial banks and requiring that financial service providers and insurance companies also now pay business license fees.

“While we appreciate that this is an initial presentation, we are keen to see programs that directly incentivize the business community to continue with its operations in the face of rising inflation; stagnant revenues; the rising cost of doing business in general but, specifically, the rising cost of imported goods, higher energy costs, supply chain disruptions, supply chain shortages and business license fees,” Rutherford-Ferguson said.

“We look forward to hearing from the ministers whose portfolios directly impact the business community and expect more details around the government’s plans, having regard for the fact that, collectively, the private sector is the largest employer in our country and contributes greatly to the health of the Bahamian economy.”

Ferguson-Rutherford added that the BCCEC remains committed to looking out for the best interests of its membership and looks forward to continued, constructive and productive dialogue with the government regarding the budget and any other discussions impacting the business community.

Debate on the 2022/2023 annual budget is expected to begin this Wednesday.

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