O'Brien's Way

A press statement was released by the Government pertaining to tax.

Sadly It seemed they had already made up their mind to have a tax and would allow us the public, the people whom it would affect a chance to look at their different proposals to make comment for them to subsequently go away and push through parliament.

My biggest concern here is that we have a very immature government in the sense that the number of political years they have collectively is limited. We have a number of politicians that have never experienced private sector led growth, not have they had to engage in work where you have to create a climate to fulfill your obligations and turn a profit.

Politicians are put in a position of power in a parliament to represent their constituents. Not their own personal agendas, nor those of our neighbours, but of the citizens of Vanuatu. Vanuatu does not need an Income tax, nor does it need a Corporate tax.

What we need is better accountability for our current taxes—did we forget that we actually do pay tax in Vanuatu?

Before we go any further in this debate we need some answers, the government should be letting the people know the following;

• How much money is raised with current methods of taxing?

• How much extra would be raised if the current system were better policed?

• How much is estimated to be lost due to false claims on import duties or falsified VAT returns?

• How much is lost simply because this area is understaffed?

• How much can be saved by government with a more stringent accountability to private sector and the minimisation of public waste?

• What if any accountability does Government think it needs to offer private sector?

• What is the government doing with the current taxes it collects?

• What extensions to services are being proposed—be it health, education, policing and infrastructures to develop outer areas to improve both domestic but also access to overseas markets?

• What efforts can or will be made to stimulate the economy which in turn will create more jobs and provide an environment that will have the people of Vanuatu grow their resources themselves and develop their own communities?

• How much aid is available to provide certain services and guarantee government service delivery that does not require sovereign funding?

• How much do we need to pay back our loans?

When we have some answers to these questions then and only then can we start to look at alternate ways to ensure that the shortfall is covered and we can continue to grow, slowly but surely.

An income tax in reality will hit only a select few and raise quite frankly chump change only.

A corporate tax will provide an environment that will see the few companies making a profit spending all their available resources into finding loop holes to minimise their tax obligations.

Furthermore, these businesses will put prices up, causing inflation and effectively increasing the cost of living by at least 20%. This will affect all the people of Vanuatu and will cruel the grass roots people the most. The cost of food will increase. The cost of services will increase. And that will make us unattractive as a tourist destination to visit.

This will have a negative effect on the economy and Vanuatu will be far worse off than when it started.

The implementation cost will more than likely be more expensive then the revenue raised, it has been reported that Australia will fund the first 5 years, then why don’t they just give us the money and leave us in peace? The short answer it is simply not in their interests to leave us to our own devices.

The Prime Minister has stated that it would help people feel like they are contributing? Seriously what pray tell would they be contributing too? The monies to be raised are allegedly for the service of existing debt.

No one has announced what they want to do to better Vanuatu for the people, just invent a Tax system that is simply NOT going to work in this country. Previously I have stated a solution to the current debate and believe that it is a viable solution that will be fair and equal to all and won’t bring about massive inflation and won’t stop investors coming too Vanuatu.

We need a system that is ours, it is written by the people for the people not by Australia for Australia. Look at the voluntary tax that already takes place every fortnight. 10% tithe to the church of choice. Fundraisers attended for those who need help, family members receive assistance from those whom work.

Vanuatu is a socialist state. Why in God’s name do we want to put more pressure on the select few that earn a few shillings to repay debt and not provide better service delivery, when if we band together we can shore up our existing taxes and ensure that collection is fair for all and that no one in Vanuatu is exempt from licenses, property tax, and all other taxes that are applicable just because you savvy someone or whatever nonsense excuse we can come up with?

If we all pay then there will be enough.

If you choose a method to tax only those that are already carrying the country on their shoulders then it will only be a matter of time and we will go weak at the knees.

Government Please we need a firm NO for Income tax and corporate tax and a BIG yes to shoring up what we have and enforcing it and over the course of time create one system that is unique to what we need not what others need.

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