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Chamber: VAT on books, computers a backward step

Tuesday, January 19 2016

THE Chaguanas Chamber of Industry and Commerce, (CCIC), has described the application of Value Added Tax, (VAT), to books and computers as a “giant step backwards” for the nation.

In a media statement yesterday, Chamber president, Richie Sookhai pointed out that the imposition of VAT on a wide variety of books, with limited exceptions, “sends a message to the public that reading and literacy have a price, and it is now a very high price, which only the very wealthy will be able to afford.” “This cannot be the way forward in a society where low levels of literacy can be cited as contributing factors in crime, poverty and social mobility,” Sookhai stated; adding to return VAT to computers and other similar-type equipment during an era when easy access to computer technology was “a must” to keep the country globally relevant and literate, “is a giant step backwards for our people. “ “Time and again we have been told and shown that falling behind in the age of technology would be detrimental to any country’s growth and development.

A computer, or tablet, is no longer a luxury item, it is fundamental to the literacy of our children and to keeping our workers, our private sector, our public service, and yes, our ministers, in touch with the people, and the world and on top of their game,” he stated.

“Additionally, we are all more than aware that technology becomes obsolete very quickly and computers and their hardware and software have to be replaced and upgraded regularly.

If the cost of technology becomes so prohibitive that we are left with outdated technology in this fast-paced 21st Century, then we can be guaranteed of being left behind at a time when we should be surging forward.

Certainly, our capacity for diversification will be greatly affected by a rise in the cost of keeping up with the latest technology,” Sookhai pointed out.

Sookhai pointed out that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was on record as stating that he intended to make interventions in the school curriculum to encourage pride in our country.

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