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The Customs and Excise Division has seen an increase in revenue collection, which is sustained and positive news compared to the decrease experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Comptroller of Customs Raju Boddu believes that revenue collection can be further improved by placing a limit on exemptions.
He advises the government to reconsider the number of tax exemptions offered to investors, as excessive exemptions hinder revenue collection.
Boddu suggests that a conscious decision must be made to limit exemptions, allowing for investors to receive three waivers but pay the ABST.
He believes this will make a significant difference in revenue collection and provide adequate funding for the government’s social and economic policies. Boddu emphasizes that while investments are important, investors should pay their fair share of taxes to support revenue collection.
He recommends that policy makers consider a flat rate if investors do not pay all. The Cabinet recently invited two IT experts who proposed to help the government find sectors that could yield 10 to 12% of additional revenue, and decreasing tax exemptions could make a difference.
Additionally, Boddu notes that Antigua and Barbuda is making significant progress in trade facilitation, and the measures put in place by the Customs and Excise Division to facilitate the process are functional and evident, including the ASYCUDA system.