The T&T Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) has welcomed last week’s announcement by Minister of Finance Colm Imbert regarding the issuance of value added tax (VAT) bonds.
Last week, Minister Imbert said in the Senate, that the Government owed $7.8 billion in VAT refunds as at March 31, 2023. He said the Government intended to issue bonds worth $3 billion to defray some of the arrears owed to businesspeople. He also said the Government would issue cash refunds for VAT arrears of between $1 billion and $2 billion. The payments would be made between June and August, said Imbert.
President of the TTMA Roger Roach said he hoped the payments would be prompt.
“The TTMA is pleased with the announcement in the Senate by the Honourable Minister of Finance regarding the issuance of VAT bonds with a projected payout between June to August 2023. We also look forward to the cash payments of up to $2 billion and hope that special consideration is given to SMEs and that these payments are made in the shortest possible time frame,” said Roach.
The TTMA had constantly been calling for the outstanding payments to be settled, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as both Roach and his predecessor Tricia Coosal noted the funds would be crucial for the recovery of the business sector.
Roach however stressed that tax system should be properly revamped to ensure there is no backlog.
“The TTMA continues to collaborate with the government by recommending solutions to ensure the sustainability and growth of the manufacturing sector and we note the economic, administrative and compliance issues outlined by the minister. This certainly highlights the need to redesign the system and arrive at a long term solution to this perennial issue,” he said.
“A working value added tax system will, when combined with other mechanisms, make it easier to do business, build confidence and foster an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and grow. The TTMA stands ready to work with the government in this regard.”
Roach also said there would be advantages for the business environment if the Government were to implement a working VAT regime.
“A working value added tax system will, when combined with other mechanisms, make it easier to do business, build confidence and foster an enabling environment for the private sector to invest and grows,” the new TTMA president said.
In the meantime, Roach said the manufacturers will continue their collaboration with the Government and state agencies to achieve results.