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Minister of Finance Colm Imbert lays papers at the start of yesterday’s sitting of the House of Representatives.

Renuka Singh

The Revenue Authority debate has been wrapped up by Finance Minister Colm Imbert who described the Opposition’s contribution as “rambling incoherence and irrelevancy.”

Imbert wrapped up the debate on Wednesday afternoon.

Imbert said while MP for Princes Town Barry Pardarath attempted to bring data to the debate, he was still wrong.

“Even though there was just one Opposition member who spoke to the subject instead of ranting and raving, that particular member got it all wrong,” he said.

Imbert read out two reports citing the Canadian revenue agency, which showed an almost 600 per cent return on investment.

Imbert said the Opposition did not need to go to foreign examples for success stories in Revenue Authority.

He instead referenced one closer to home in Guyana

“The data will show you that the tax collected before the establishment of the Revenue Authority in Guyana were in the region $151 billion Guyanese dollars in 2016, rising to $171 billion in 2017, $198 billion in 2018, $225 billion in 2019,” he said.

Imbert said the growth rate, in terms of revenue collection after the establishment of its revenue authority, moved from six per cent in 2016 to 14 per cent in 2019.

“These are real live examples, this is not talk, this is not rhetoric, this is not rambling, this is not incoherency. These are facts,” he said.

Imbert said during the People’s Partnership governance, they could not solve the under staffing problem at the Board of Inland Revnue and Customs and Excise Department.

Imbert went back to the National Alliance for Reconstruction (NAR) rule and the United National Congress under Basdeo Panday saying that none of those administrations could have resolved the staffing issues at the BIR.

He said the failings stemmed from the inability to recruit staff in an efficient manner.

While Imbert was wrapping up, he gave way to the Leader of Government business, Camille Robinson-Regis who sought to have the sitting adjourned to a date to be fixed.