MY LITTLE TALK WITH PRES. MARTELLY ON TAXES

President Martelly of Haiti

Mr. President, before you purchase new weapons for your military to fight a war, I believe you would first order that a thorough assessment on the state of your arsenal be conducted to make the determination as to which ones of your weapons need repair and which to buy more of. That is what is called a commonsense approach to spending.

I say all that to make one point, Mr. President: I read this Haiti Libre article entitled Nouvelles measures 2012 du Président Martelly, where the online newspaper reported that new taxes will be levied on the state lottery and the “borlette” to finance the big government projects in the domain of education; Mr. President, with all due respect, I feel as though you are putting the cart before the horse. Before you get to that, I think the following measures need to be undertaken:

  1. Fix our broken tax system by restructuring the tax collection agency and introducing the latest technologies to render it more effective in collecting the revenues that must be going to our treasury. We have a terrible revenue problem causing us to be running on a fiscal deficit every year and forcing us to borrow money abroad to balance our national budget. That can be very well fixed.
  2. Institute a tax watchdog agency or police to publicly expose and go after those choosing to evade taxes. If money is not coming in, how can you possibly be self-sufficient and self-reliant to execute the big social programs you set to implement during your term in office for the betterment of the people?

Mr. President, why am I feeling as though some people are still milking the system and are given a free pass? Before we proceed with the addition of more taxes, which I am not opposed to at all, we have got to make certain that those in the system not paying taxes pay their dues. Not paying taxes to the state should be a crime, and no one should be placed above the law.

Everybody must pay their fair share; everybody must carry a portion of the burden’s weight on their shoulders. I am sure, Mr. President, you are aware of all the frustrations the fee added on us in the Diaspora for our transfers of money and phone calls to Haiti has caused. Personally, I do not have an issue with the measure as I do strongly believe that “se grès kochon an ki pou kwit kochon an.” But me not having an issue with it does not imply that all of us living abroad feel comfortable about it. These people who are infuriated over the measure argue that it could have been done the right way. By that, they mean more transparency could have been brought to the system and everyone’s money, including that of the well-to-do folks who have been evading paying taxes for years, should have contributed in sapping the child illiteracy rate you are determined to bring under control.

Finally, Mr. President, while I do commend your political goodwill to turn things around, I don’t think the fiscal approach you have used thus far are encouraging. In my opinion, it should not be this way: one group is carrying the entire burden while the well connected are just getting a free pass. We ALL must pay in the form of taxes whatever is due to the state. Failure to do so should be treated as a crime. To guarantee that everybody pays their fair share, we have got to restructure the agency that is there to collect our dues, introduce the latest technologies into the system, and institute a tax watchdog agency or police to publicly expose and crack down on these people milking the system and refusing to pay their dues to the state. Doing so will eventually solve the revenue problem that we have; we will no longer have to rely heavily on the international donors to finance our social projects. Mr. President, I am certain I am not telling you anything you did not already know. So let’s make it happen. As always, keep doing the good job. I wish you success in your leadership.

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2 comments on “MY LITTLE TALK WITH PRES. MARTELLY ON TAXES

  1. “2.Institute a tax watchdog agency or police to publicly expose and go after those choosing to evade taxes…..”

    Define “go after”. And do you think we can have a watch dog organization in Haiti (right now) that can after everyone equally?

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