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Opposition Leader Blames Government for Decline in Tax Revenue

Monday 28th January, 2019-Debate on the 2019 Budget began in the House of Representatives this morning with the Leader of the Opposition blaming the government for the decline in tax revenues.

While presenting the budget, Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed that government’s tax yield is not in line with growth in Antigua and Barbuda, adding there were several factors that contributed to low revenue yields. He listed tax waivers that amounted to $ 330 million.

While the prime minister said reducing total tax exemptions and strengthening tax administration will be the cornerstone of government’s fiscal strategy in the medium term, Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle believes this could have been avoided, but according to him the prime minister had other intentions.

The opposition leader also singled out the National Housing and Urban Renewal Company, questioning the reasons why its financial statements are yet to be placed before Parliament. Pringle contends that the company is “sucking up” tax payers monies and there hasn’t been a single report as to how the monies are spent.

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He also addressed the E-Book Programme which the Prime Minister told the nation recently there were serious procedural issues in its roll out and disagreeing with the cost of the licensing fee. The opposition leader has called on the Minister of Education, Science and Technology to provide answers to what he describes to be a scandal.

The 2019 budget debate continues on Tuesday following an early adjournment today to give MPs the opportunity to travel to Nelson’s Dockyard to welcome home Team Antigua Island Girls.

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