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Bahamas Government PR Campaign Raises Awareness Of Tax Obligations

by Amanda Banks,, London

21 November 2007

Bahamas Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing has commenced a month-long initiative to educate the public on the Business Licence and Valuation Unit’s function to promote the 'fiscal responsibility' of citizens, through the payment of taxes.

Speaking at the launch of the Unit’s Public Relations campaign on Wednesday, Laing remarked that people in the Bahamas have had "a certainly less-than-adequate knowledge about the details about paying for property taxes".

"From time to time, (this) causes some challenges in terms of carrying out their own transactions or even complying with the law, which is required,” Laing said, adding: “I am delighted to be here today to participate in this launch because it is a customer service initiative.”

Representatives of the Unit plan to appear on radio and television programmes, newspaper advertisements, and speak at forums, and will disseminate pamphlets and brochures to get its message to the public.

Laing said that the government of the Bahamas has responsibility to provide public goods and services that make life better for all. The government, he noted, has to take in revenue to do so, and real property tax is one of those areas. He added that the campaign is an effort by the Unit to assist clients who might have difficulties in understanding the methodology and processes involved with real property taxes.

“We want to help you (customers) with that,” he explained.

“I think that is where we want to take government services, where we become more customer-focused, more client-centred and do the kinds of things that make the customers’ interaction with the Government agency a dignified and easier process for the customer," Laing announced.

“I expect that, in other areas (of government), similar initiatives will be launched, so that, at the end of the day, there is adequate information – adequate knowledge, on the part of the public – as to how it is to carry out doing the kinds of things that it has to do in compliance with the laws of the country,” the Minister concluded.

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