Six government agencies are collaborating to recoup millions of dollars in maritime revenue lost every year.
Chairman of the Maritime Revenue Enhancement Task Force, Commander Bertram Bowleg spoke to ZNS News about how maritime revenue is being lost. He said, “we have charters that are $200,000 for a charter, $150,000 for a charter. They’re supposed to be 4% to the Port Department and 10% VAT to Inland Revenue, but that is not happening. The majority of the vessels are not paying the 10% VAT. When you look at it that’s in the millions of dollars that is being lost.”
Bowleg says the task force combines all the agencies that have charge over anything within the maritime sector such as the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. “So what we did is put the task force to combine with all of these agencies so that anything comes up, if the Police needs to arrest someone right there, the police is right there. All agencies are right there working together and whoever that fine and fees fall under that is the agency who take charge.”
Financial Secretary Simon Wilson says he believes the maritime sector of The Bahamas should generate one hundred million dollars a year at minimum. “If you look at Florida’s maritime sector and what it generates for the state of Florida and you see what it generates for The Bahamas you can see the sector can do much more in The Bahamas than it is doing currently,” Wilson said.
Wilson also commented on the importance of recouping the revenue. He said, “the fees attached to the sector and so forth is very, very important. These are fees, many of which have been in place for a number of years, and enforcement has been laxed, we want to change that.”