Kwasi Thompson Calls On Government to Reserve Vat Policy on Insurance

Member of Parliament East Grand Bahama Shadow Minister for Finance

The Opposition notes with grave concern the reports of The Tribune on May 25th and on June 16th regarding the assertion by the Insurance industry that the government is changing the value-added tax (VAT) rules for medical insurers. This would have the effect of adding costs to Bahamian consumers already burdened with skyrocketing medical costs.

The insurance industry has indicated that come July 1st, they will not be able to claim their VAT payments made in settling the medical claims of their customers. This revised ruling by the Ministry of Finance will mean that insurance companies will reportedly have to pass on these costs to the consumer.

With some medical bills and procedures running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, this will mean extreme hardship for Bahamian families at a time when they can least afford it.

What is also extremely disappointing is that the Prime Minister as Minister of Finance had three opportunities to speak to the House of Assembly during the budget debate. At no time did he advise the public of the massive new costs that will be put upon the public. It is shameful that the government would try to sneak this on the Bahamian people.

We call on the Prime Minister to meet with the Stakeholders with a view to immediately reverse this heartless policy position. The government has already put VAT back on medicine. It is adding insult to injury to add costs to medical bills by virtue of a shift in
this VAT policy.