Govt to vigorously oppose similar settlements – Finance Minister
DDL tax settlement
In light of concerns in relation to the controversial tax write-off granted by Government to beverage giant Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL), Finance Minister Winston Jordan declared that any attempts to seek a similar settlement would be strongly contested by the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo had contended that the whopping $3.8 billion Consumption Tax write-off from the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) opened the door for other companies to seek refunds on taxes paid on the same basis as was used in the DDL case.
However, Jordan insisted that Government would not let such a situation occur.
“Any attempts by other business persons to make claims and so on will also be vigorously opposed based on principles that underline the settlement with DDL,” he stated during a news conference on Monday.
Jordan explained that Government could not stop other companies from wanting to make similar claims however, as with the Rudisa case where other corporations are piggybacking on the outcome of that settlement, but there would have to be reasonable grounds.
The Finance Minister asserted that the GRA engaged in tax settlements all the time and the DDL matter was nothing new.
“The judgement is sound, based on what is told to me,” he stated, noting that there really was not an issue with the matter.
The Opposition Leader had contended that the DDL settlement, as well as the possibility of other companies seeking refunds, would cost the State billions in revenue dollars – billions that could have been used in areas that the coalition Government told the nation it could not afford to fund.
He explained that the potential cost of this single settlement and its possible consequences amounted to more money than the State received in loans and grants in a single year.
Jagdeo had also demanded that Government release critical information in relation to this tax deal, including whether or not an assessment of DDL’s liabilities in respect of Excise Tax for the period 2006 to 2016 was done and what was the sum of that liability; who negotiated the settlement; if the settlement was approved by Cabinet or the Board of the GRA; on what principles was the sum $1.5 billion arrived at; and whether other deals were concluded or are currently being negotiated.