For decades, the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic Government ignored the country’s investments laws which call for the disclosure and audit of all tax concessions granted to foreign and local businesses.
Under the new Aldministration, nothing has changed. According to Chartered Accountant, Christopher Ram; Finance Minister, Winston Jordan and Auditor General, Deodat Sharma are continuing the old tradition of ignoring the nation’s investment laws.
Making reference to the law, Ram pointed out that Section 38 (1) says that the Auditor General, or any suitably qualified person, designated by him for the purpose, shall annually carry out a procedural or process audit of incentives granted under Section 2 of the Income Tax (In Aid of Industry) Act to an investor or an investment enterprise.
It goes on to state that a report of the audit carried out shall be laid in the National Assembly within six months after the end of each financial year. This has never been done.
Further, Section 37 of the said Investment Act says that the Government shall publish in the Gazette, information regarding all fiscal incentives granted under Section 2 of the Income Tax (In Aid of Industry) Act.
Given the failure of both Jordan and Sharma to respect and obey the country’s laws, the Chartered Accountant said it becomes imperative for the whole matter of tax concessions to be part and parcel of the tax reform process with the aim of minimizing the cases for which exorbitant concessions are granted in an ad hoc fashion.
He said that the rules need to be made tighter and applied across the board.
In doing this, the lawyer asserted that the country would stand to benefit more from greater revenues.