GRA says ‘higher taxation’ claims baseless

first_imgThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), responding on Friday to claims that higher taxation has led to the closure of BEV Enterprises’ shrimp processing facility, has said the accusations are baseless, since the Guyana Association of Trawler Owners and Seafood Operators continues to reap significant benefits.According to the GRA, as per an agreement signed between the Association and the Government since 2005, these benefits are being garnered.GRA has said the issue of higher taxation was raised by reports and letters published in the media, hence the tax body has sought to debunk the misleading claims. The GRA statement also indicated that the owners of BEV have refuted the allegations, and have noted that they have a “generous taxation” arrangement with the Government.Some of the soon-to-be- unemployed workers“It should be noted that GRA’s policy is to ensure that persons granted concessions act in accordance with the terms and conditions under which the tax exemptions were granted. As far as the GRA is aware, BEV Enterprises were utilising (their) concessions as per the agreement. Whilst recognising the rights of persons to pen letters voicing their opinions, the Authority hopes that opinions shared involving matters of taxation will be firmly grounded in facts, and not hearsay,” the GRA has said.With thousands of former sugar workers continuing to face challenges to find consistent employment, closure of the BEV processing facility will see over 390 employees being without employment. According to reports which surfaced on Tuesday, over 100 of the workers could be absorbed into other seafood operations, but many of BEV staff remain unsure as to how such an arrangement would be executed.The majority of the workers are women, and they are worried for their future as well as those of their children. Sources told this publication that proprietor and head of BEV Processors Inc, Bruce Vieira, held a recent meeting with staff, wherein he assured workers that they would receive benefits for their years of service.They were also informed that operations would cease by July 15, and the reactions were varied, ranging from sheer shock to passivity.Vieira was quoted in other sections of the media as saying he is hoping that Noble House Seafoods would purchase BEV’s plant and garner shrimp suppliers, which can provide employment. Vieira denied that his decision to leave the industry was due to a deal he has with an oil company which needs a sea front property.Union representationFollowing cries from some of the workers about the lack of representation by their union, the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union (GAWU) officials met with the management of BEV Enterprises on Thursday, when the company agreed to pay the workers a series of incentives.According to the Union, the news of the company closing operations came as a shock to many workers, most of whom are single mothers already finding it challenging to solely maintain their families.During Thursday’s meeting, the company’s owner indicated that several factors would have impacted the decision to end operations in the fishing industry. For the past 34 years, the company, located at Houston, Greater Georgetown, has been one of the leading processors of fish and shrimp for local and foreign markets.The company has agreed to pay its workers some incentives to soften the impact that the closure will have on their livelihoods. Apart from the statutorily required redundancy payments, the company, through the union/company engagement, has agreed to pay workers for their full year’s annual leave. This would be done even though the year’s service would be incomplete when operations cease.Additionally, the workers are expected to receive their full incentive payment for July 2018, although the company would end operations around July 15, 2018.last_img read more