Only now will all those revenue billions be efficiently used
I agree with GRA Commissioner-General Khurshid Sattaur (SN, May 1) that he has done a good job in improving the public administration of taxes. Long before his elevation to tax boss, he presented an enlightened openness to the ordinary citizen. I remember distinctly when I met him for the first time. The meeting lasted literally one minute, during which time he managed to credit me with wanting to pay my taxes, and answered my question as to why I had to pay a certain tax by pointing precisely to the pertinent regulation. I recognised efficiency when I saw it, and paid like a satisfied customer.
I take my hat off to the home-grown tax administration under him, also aware that there are some corrupt employees that have to be effectively removed, and that there is still much work to be done.
I do have a problem with the present VAT rates and other tax burdens, but I fully recognise that it is the politicians who foisted it upon me that I must change with my vote. I believe the present GRA Commissioner-General would do a professional job under any political administration.
Nevertheless, he must bear some things in mind.
1. In his April 5, 2012 letter to SN titled ‘A reduction in VAT would not benefit those earning below $40,000 per month because their consumption relates to items which are exempt or zero rated,’ and in some previous letters, he has allowed the difficulties his officers face, to cause him to appear to make or defend government policies. He is entitled to his opinion as a citizen to do so, not as Commissioner-General of the GRA; therefore I respectfully advise him to bracket the ‘Commissioner-General’ designation after he signs his name to these opinions, so that it will be taken for identification only and not official GRA purposes.
2. It is the cupidity of the government politicians that has seen the employment of his considerable administration skills.
There are many other agencies that have been deprived of the support the present government gave to the setting up of the GRA: the Deeds Registry, UG, the GPF, the City Council, to name only a very few.
The reason for the preference of the GRA over others must be that Mr. Sattaur’s system enabled much to be easily controlled by few. Now that parliament can impose better accountability, we only now have a chance for all those revenue billions to be efficiently used for all those development works Mr. Sattaur mentioned.
3. The few in the government also have at their disposal the option to retain or contract workers well over the retirement age of 55. Would Mr. Sattaur have essayed his April 5 opinions as to what the poor should choose to consume if he were not in the latter category or aspiring to it?