Govt urged to exempt oil palm from tax reform

Islands

West New Britain Governor Sasindran Muthuvel expressed grave concerns over the Government’s intention to scrap the tax credit scheme (TCS).
He appealed to the Government to have mercy on his province and exempt the oil palm industry as it was collecting only 0.5per cent revenue from tax credit equivalent to K10 million to K15 million annually  compared to other commodities that collect up to K200 million per annum.
He appealed to the Government to take heed of the serious repercussions this decision would have on the province which would be deprived of this function that has always contributed immensely to development through the maintenance of infrastructures such as roads and bridges.
West New Britain being a disaster-prone province was privileged to have the TCS as a fall back plan with New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL) and Hargy Oil Palm Ltd tax credit scheme providing refuge with their quick intervention to fix roads and bridges and rescue the province with immediate relief during times of disaster and emergency.
“If the tax credit scheme is scraped, thousands of lives in WNB will be deprived from reaching basic services when road links are damaged during emergencies,” he said.
“It will mean that the Government will lose an emergency lifeline stakeholder that has always been able to provide rescue services during emergencies while the provincial government awaits the bureaucratic process to take its course.
“It has taken years for the provincial government to establish mutual understanding with the companies and it is disheartening to know that just when both parties are coming to terms with their respective roles and anticipating intense team cohesion to deliver effective results that the intention to scrap the TCS is revealed to shatter the hope of this partnership.
“This is a blow in the face for us after tireless attempts to achieve this understanding.”
He said that while he shared the same sentiments and understood the Government’s plight of getting in as much revenue during this time of economic recession, it was also unfair for the province to be handicapped by this decision.
This action will also leave various infrastructure impact projects under the tax credit scheme in jeopardy.

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