We want to keep our political and economic independence? Should we allow ourselves—and our sovereignty—to be dominated by a foreign country dictating to us how to collect our taxes and to be accountable?

The clear message I take out of this is that our neighbors feel we are not capable of looking after the basics ourselves and it would be more then apparent that the current government agrees with them.

It is not tax that I oppose; it is having a tax forced on us by a foreign administration that is counter to our needs. Fighting tax changes is also counterproductive; we should all embrace that. However fighting a tax change that is not ours—one that is currently only understood by those wishing to implement it—that’s worth fighting for.

I talked before about national pride. Well, this is an matter of national pride. We need to work together to uncover a system that works for us and makes us a tougher, more robust, independent and resilient nation. One full of pride because of our collective achievements. Not dubious arrangements that are for those with counterproductive interests in our country.

It has been said that the key lead from the overseas administration has been know to say that “we will listen, we will be enthusiastic and accept the comments, for and against, then we will implement our tax reform on time and how we want.”

Basically they are telling us we don’t have a say. They have made up their collective mind and are just going to give us our 15 minutes in the sun, let us blow some hot air, and then get back in our boxes. And they will do what they want.

They do however need to fully understand the ramifications of what will happen if this new initiative is allowed.

Under the current plan:

There will be no new schools.

No better education.

No better infrastructure.

What we will get is to pay back a debt which was forced on us by the foreign banks.

We will not have any improvement to our standard of living; in fact it will deteriorate.

Part of the UN agenda is to deliver a tax system to everyone around the world. They are not interested in our dynamics. We are after all a country of only 280,000 people.

Foreign banks have forced and or tempted our former and current politicians with money, which we now have to repay. This is the real reason behind the need for tax reform. Yet again, we have to bail those out who are supposed to be there for us, the people of Vanuatu.

They represent us, they make and enforce decisions for us, on our behalf. Therefore they need to make the right decisions based on what we want. Not what Australia or New Zealand or the UN wants. This is one of the few times it is OK for it to be all about us.

So a solution is needed:

We Increase VAT to 13%.

On the same form as the VAT to make for easy collection we have a 1% turnover tax. This is solely for government revenue.

Again on the same form as the VAT we have a 1% tourism levy. This is solely for the promotion and development of tourism in Vanuatu. Not for government revenue.

2% tax paid by the employer on behalf of their employees as a form of payroll tax into VNPF for ease of collection.

2% tax paid by the Employee as a form of income tax into the VNPF for ease of collection.

A minimal international transfer tax for inbound and out bound foreign exchange in any currency ours included. This would be a percentage point and I have been assured that the current structure within the banking system would absorb this easily without any inconvenience except maybe the banks.

Negotiate for a twenty-year extension, because the country is not ready, the people are not ready. We have just come through cyclone Pam, then faced the runway debacle. The country simply can’t take any more. You can’t hammer a nail without a hammer.

This will leave us with a simple and workable administration. Vanuatu needs to grow in its own time and within our own social structures and cultural ways.

Vanuatu has to retrieve its political and economic independence.

How can people live proudly if they are not part of a tax system that is by the people for the people. This will surely cause dissension between the various communities, those that contribute and those that don’t. How can this be good for a country such as ours that takes pride in its customary and cultural ways of life?

We should support natural expansion rather than forced and artificial economic growth. Most I know are happy with what we have and would be happy to support a system that delivers more services and better way of life to those whom as yet are not able to access it that is the Melanesian way.

The majority doesn’t want to live in the congested areas of town. They want to be able to enjoy what’s theirs. Why force this style of taxation onto a society that will only become divided as a result of one group of people that believe that what they hear is far better for the people then what they know?

Moving forward to a tax system in a rush will result in high inflation, a devalued vatu and decreased standard of living. The cost of living will be unsustainable and poverty will become a huge problem.

Yes Vanuatu needs tax reform; all but a few agree. We don’t need this proposed tax reform because it is not unique to us and it does not, cannot and will not do anything except increase the cost of living and repay debt.

We need to develop first and then look at our debts. The banks will listen to our plight. They will have no choice if it is the will of the people. Put the people first and the debt repayment a distant last.

Remember: you can’t put your hands into the pockets of a naked man.

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