…due to Tax evasion, Vehicle smugglingThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) has said tax evasion and cross-border smuggling of items such as vehicles remain countrywide problems with which the authority is grappling even in this New Year.Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority, Mr Godfrey Statia, hasGRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statiasaid the entity lost 40 per cent of its revenue for last year — some $70 billion — through tax evasion. He complained that the situation exists at all levels, and has said it has implications for overall budgetary allocations.He said, “If we collected $170 billion last year, 40 per cent is (roughly) $70 billion. And if you collect $70 billion more, I’m sure the Minister of Finance would be able to balance his budget. I’m also sure that all the capital projects we would like to have and see started would be completed. But you have tax evasion at all levels.”The Commissioner General also posited thusly, “At the level of customs, there’s a lot of under-invoicing. Or if they don’t do that, they would use incorrect codes. If you could actively collude with the broker, you would see a simple analysis would show that people have been using incorrect descriptions to get past that. We have lost all discipline. Value systems have broken down, and it’s countrywide…we have to face it.”According to Statia, the entity has been dealing with the problem by utilizing its Law Enforcement and Investigation Division and going after defaulters. In addition,A vehicle with fake number platesmore staff rotation has been employed. Asked about the status of cases made by the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division, Statia related that several individuals are presently before the courts.VehiclesStatia also addressed the issue of the vehicle smuggling racket. He related that over 2000 vehicles have entered Guyana from Suriname, but did not depart Guyana. Purchasing the vehicles and then bringing them over with false number plates is a practice designed to cheat the system of duties, he explained.“You found that thousands of vehicles were being imported from Suriname and Brazil and were not going back (there). (And they were) using old registration numbers (to operate on the roads),” Statia related. “You also found that people were abusing the process (by) using fake vehicle numbers, fake diplomatic numbers, and all these things. The other day I saw a DPL 501. Nowhere in the United States Embassy (are there) 501 vehicles,” he declared.Statia affirmed that Government has not abandoned a project to introduce number plates with special security features, but the project has been put on the back burner as conflict arose regarding jurisdiction.According to the tax chief, there was some uncertainty as to whether his entity should handle the project or the Ministry of Public Security. He noted, however, that the project should get under way in 2018.PrototypesPrototypes of modern vehicle registration plates with security features had been submitted to Government in 2016 to enable Government to introduce a centralised and more secure system. A Guyanese company called EuroSign, based in Miami, Florida, USA, had made the proposal to Government Ministers, officials of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), and members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Traffic Department.The recommended licence plates will be embedded with security features that stymie the use of falsely registered plates, and enable easier tracking and identification.The new centralised system would see the issuance of standard licence plates for all categories of vehicles, including diplomatic vehicles, State vehicles and Joint Services’ vehicles.In December 2015, a German company had submitted a proposal for special licence plates for vehicles, to assist in tracking traffic offenders as well as vehicles used for criminal activities.
1 Chelsea have had a £25m offer for Santos winger Gabriel Barbosa snubbed by the player, according to reports in Brazil.Incoming Blues boss Antonio Conte is understood to be a huge admirer of the 19-year-old and had ordered officials of his new club to stump up a mega fee.However, according to UOL Esporte, Barbosa is holding out for a dream move to Real Madrid in the future and is reluctant to move to Stamford Bridge.Santos have apparently accepted the bid from Chelsea but have informed the Premier League club that Barbosa wants to stay put in his native Brazil.Chelsea are not the first club to have been turned down by Barbosa, with Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune also receiving a similar response earlier this year. Blues boss Antonio Conte is understood to be a huge admirer Gabriel Barbosa