GRA reports Berbice rice millers support VAT Guyana Chronicle
November 22, 2006

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THE Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), which is responsible for its administration, has reported that the Value-Added Tax (VAT), to be introduced from January 1, 2007, has gained the support of East Berbice Rice Millers Association (EBRMA).

The Government Information Agency (GINA) said the supportive pledge was secured by GRA at a meeting its officials had at Number 49, Corentyne, Berbice, on Sunday.

The GRA team, attached to the Tax Advisory Unit of the Value-Added and Excise Taxes Department, included Ms. Simone Beckles, Director (ag) Legislation and Tax Advisory Services; Ms. Karen Chapman, Director (ag), Tax Advisory Services and Ms Nadia De Abreu, Public Communication Specialist.

They met 17 members of EBRMA, briefed them on the impact VAT is expected to have on their businesses and updated them on the registration process, accounting and record keeping, as well as filing returns.

GRA said proprietor Mr. Nand Persaud, whose company produces ‘Karibee’ rice at Number 36, Corentyne, acknowledged that the discussions helped clarify misconceptions about VAT and enabled farmers and millers to understand the procedure by which it is to be implemented.

Persaud said they also understood the benefits to be derived, when VAT replaces the Consumption Tax.

“Some farmers were reluctant to come because they were unsure of exactly what VAT means for their business. But, if they were here, they would be friends of VAT,” he was quoted as saying.

GINA recalled that Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh, said last Friday that debates on the implementation of VAT commenced several years ago and were largely supported by the private sector, the government and other major stakeholders.

He added: “In recent parliamentary debates on VAT, we were all heartened at the unanimity with which this reform initiative was embraced. I don’t believe any major stakeholder expressed an objection to the introduction of VAT.”

Singh also urged the private sector to help allay fears and misconceptions regarding the implementation of VAT, pointing out that the business community and the economy will benefit from the reform initiative, GINA said.

The agency explained that VAT is being implemented to modernise the taxation system and broaden the tax base, thereby ensuring that everyone who benefits from the government’s social services pays tax.

The VAT Implementation Unit is spearheading widespread outreaches to the business community and other stakeholders to ensure that they understand the system and are able to share the benefits with other consumers, GINA stated.