I call on the government to remove the seven percent online purchase tax as a tangible measure to ease the onerous cost of living and assist small and medium- sized businesses in the procurement of essential supplies for their operations.
The implementation of this tax has furthered the financial pressures on emerging entrepreneurs, existing SME’s and enterprising citizens while also being a contrary approach to dealing with the foreign exchange crisis.
Mr. Imbert’s statement that there has been “an explosion in online shopping over the last several years” suggests that the government is considering increasing the online tax as a high-handed and punitive measure.
This would negatively impact the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) sector, fledgling entrepreneurs and sole business operators who conduct many of their purchases online for speed, savings, flexibility and efficiency.
Furthermore, local shipping companies are on record in the local media as saying that there is no “explosion” of online shopping.
This government should look at other sources of increasing income, such as acting upon the many failed promises they have made over the years about diversifying the economy. They should also aggressively institute measures to boost the declining energy sector and to return the Point Lisas Industrial Estate to its fullest potential.
The United National Congress has a policy of encouraging entrepreneurship and is strongly against any tax that punishes ambition and the growth of free enterprises, which by extension creates jobs and adds to the overall economy.
Government must increase foreign exchange earnings – not punish creative and ambitious citizens.
Kamla Persad-Bissessar, SC, MP
Leader of the Opposition
20th September 2023