The People’s National Movement has taken note of comments made by Dr. Roger Hosein, a UWI lecturer, about our pledge to reduce VAT by 2.5% from 15% to 12.5%, within the first year of office.
Dr. Hosein is reported in the Guardian Newspaper as saying that the proposed reduction in VAT is a bad idea, since it will result in the loss of over $5 billion in revenue.
The PNM rejects Dr. Hosein’s unempirical and unscientific statements outright.
His statements about VAT fly in the face of reality and are merely a word-for-word regurgitation of statements made on UNC platforms by UNC spokesmen, who are clearly terrified at the political goodwill that has resulted from the forward looking and progressive measures in the PNM’s comprehensive Manifesto. Clearly, the UNC and its friends have no interest in lowering the cost of living in Trinidad and Tobago. In desperation, as their imminent defeat looms, they are grasping at any straw in an attempt to boost their dwindling stocks.
In making his politically charged statements, Dr. Hosein has done no analysis or examination of the history of tax reform in Trinidad and Tobago. He has ignored the fact that after the PNM adjusted the income tax regime in 2006, by increasing the personal allowance from $24,000 per year to $60,000 per year and reducing the overall tax rate to 25%, the collection of personal income tax increased by over 50%, from $4 billion to over $6 billion.
Further, it is an indisputable fact that the progressive lowering of tax rates in Trinidad and Tobago over the last 30 years has resulted in a quantum leap in tax collections and an exponential increase in revenue. Any economist worth his salt will know that, and it is disappointing that a Senior Lecturer at UWI could make the irresponsible statements attributed to Dr. Hosein in today’s Guardian.
It is noteworthy that this is the same Dr. Hosein, who, towards the end of 2014, illogically praised Finance Minister Larry Howai for basing the 2015 Budget on what he strangely described at the time as a “conservative“ oil price of $80 barrel.
It should also be noted that Dr. Hosein has been the beneficiary of lucrative consultancies during the PP Government’s tenure, and, therefore, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be viewed as an objective commentator. Indeed, the record will show that he is a long standing associate and collaborator of the current UNC Minister of Planning, Dr. Bhoe Tewarie.