Gibson: Tax reform will dominate 2017

PHILIPSBURG–The New Year, set to start in just a few days, will be dominated by Government’s efforts to bring into effect significant tax reform.

Finance Minister Richard Gibson said in the Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday that the country’s tax system “does not line up with the times.” The intention is to push for a system focused more on indirect taxes in an attempt to broaden the tax base and capture those in the community who are slipping through the cracks.

The Finance Ministry will also put emphasis on generating ideas for more structural income for Government. Gibson said Government’s coffers and the budget can no longer be boosted annually with just incidental, non-structured income.

“We cannot build a strong foundation on this. … Steps must be taken to make sure we have income to count on,” said Gibson.

Government was occupied in 2016 with “the engineering of the move” into the new Government Building on Pond Island.

Gibson said the Council of Ministers was “proud to [be – Ed.] in the building … after eight years of [it] housing pigeons.”

The main challenge of 2016 was keeping the budget on track, he said, adding that the “shenanigans” of the former board of directors of utilities company GEBE had not helped. In the end, Government persevered and was able to collect payments from the company that had been “sitting in a bank account for years.”

The past year was “the year of building and laying the groundwork for future years,” Gibson said, and the future looks promising, especially with Government paying off two-thirds of its debt that amounts to NAf. 200 million. With this the country now has its debt under control.

Source: The Daily Herald


  1. Tax reform is needed badly. Currently it seems that a small group of tax payers, pay to float this entire governmental apparatus which is bloated beyond belief for such a small country. I mean, HALF of the country’s budget is used to pay SALARIES of CIVIL SERVANTS. But what do tax payers get in return for these high taxes they pay? Virtually nothing.

    1. Dump is killing us slowly with toxic fumes emitted every single day (not only on days with big fires, the dump is slow burning EVERY SINGLE DAY).

    2. Crime especially armed robberies are increasing. Police and Prison are sub standard.

    3. Roads are congested and potholes are not tackled soon enough.

    4. Garbage is not collected on time and bins are overflowing in most districts leading to health hazards.

    5. Census office and other Goverment services are below par. Almost everything you need from Government takes you hours if not days to complete. For instance, ID card renewal: been waiting now for more than 3 months for a simple renewal (“sorry da machine broke”, or “sorry we run outta cyads”).

    6. Tax office sends bogus tax assessments which take tax payers months, sometimes even years, to get corrected and money for accountants to correct it. It’s a shame!

    7. The island is not promoting itself so our competitors are gaining ground quickly endangering our livelihood. Government has no clue what the current tourism trends are and on top of that we don’t keep updated statistics although we have a Government office supposed to oversee this (STAT).

    8. Our hospital is a joke. Underqualified doctors and staff and outdated equipment and procedures. Anything serious and you basically die if you’re not transported to the US, DR or Colombia.

    Add more points but you get my drift: WHAT exactly are my tax dollars paying for?!!!!