The Leaders Party of Vanuatu (LPV) will not support the idea to introduce income tax in Vanuatu.
This was confirmed by the party’s interim President and same time Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities (MIPU) Jotham Napat.
This is unprecedented in political history in Vanuatu that one coalition partner in a government has broken with tradition and publicly disagreed with a government policy.
Mr. Napat shocked his listeners at the ceremony to accept North Efate MP Jerry Kanas into the party at Manua School near Paunagisu village, North Efate Saturday evening when he made the announcement.
“One of my resolutions on Tanna, which I will say today is, the Leaders Party does not support income tax. I am not scared to say this, because the people told me in their resolution from the summit I held in Tanna, when you go to Vila, income tax, you must not support,” he explained.
“I must write a letter to the Prime Minister and put the position of the LPV. I take it that this is the people talking. I have consulted all seven Members of Parliament of the LP and everyone has agreed and said yes, LPV will not support income tax.”
He said he hoped the Prime minister would understand this position “because whatever he decides to do now I have 4,000 people behind me and I will be back in 2020.
“All other political parties are scared to state their positions on the subject of the income tax. But I am now stating the position of the LPV.”
The interim president added that everyone present at Manua School were privileged to hear directly from him that LPV will not support income tax.
The LPV held its summit on Tanna last Tuesday.
Last year, the Government of Prime Minister Charlot Salwai came out publicly with an idea to introduce income tax for the first time in Vanuatu as part of plans to reform the revenue structure as a way to increase government revenue. But many say the plan is a foreign idea, will cost a lot to collect only a small amount, and will be counterproductive to investment and employment.
Recently, the government announced that public consultations would resume early this year on the income tax proposal.