VANUATU BUSINESSES ASK GOVERNMENT TO DELAY

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VALUE ADDED TAX

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (June 9, 1998 - PACNEWS)---Vanuatu's Chamber of Commerce and Industry has appealed to the government to postpone the implementation of a Value Added Tax (VAT) and the lifting of import duties until January, 1999.

The chamber says it supports the government's 12.5 percent VAT plan but, because the current economic climate is "extremely volatile," timing is an important factor, Radio Vanuatu reports.

Lifting import duties now, warns the chamber, would flood the country with imported items, causing problems for local manufacturers.

The Department of Customs and Tax, however, states that implementation of the government's VAT/import duty plan is vital ,because the country's economic activities and population are growing, while government revenue is stagnant.

VAT now is scheduled to be implemented in August.

Meanwhile, Chamber of Commerce and Industry representatives, in petitioning for a delay in VAT implementation , Tuesday warned government that a nationwide strike could be called if the government fails to address their concerns.

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