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September 2, 2019 destruction to a northern Bahamas marina caused by Hurricane Dorian. Photo taken by United States Coast Guard Air Station – Clearwater, Florida, a commons image.

 By Leah Cooper / The Nassau Guardian  / October 21, 2019

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]everal business owners on Abaco expressed difficulties yesterday in trying to get their businesses viable again weeks after Hurricane Dorian devastated their communities.

Lia Lowe, who manages public relations for the Abaco Gas Company, said the Marsh Harbour company has experienced difficulties in receiving information regarding value-added tax (VAT) payments.

“The government is demanding businesses that still want to operate to pay their VAT for the last quarter, and they’re telling businesses [that] if your files got destroyed you’re going to have to estimate how much you paid for last quarter,” Lowe said.

“We only worked two months this quarter. Nobody made money in September. So, that’s a big issue here right now because businesses are trying to get back on their feet, but there’s not even any clarity on it really.”

Lowe added that the company’s building, along with most of its equipment, was destroyed during the storm; leaving it with one truck to pump gas. 

As far as the economic recovery zones are concerned, Lowe said businesses are forced to charge customers VAT to cover payments. 

“They said in the beginning that Abaco was going to be a tax free zone for three years, but they’re demanding their VAT money and they’re demanding that businesses charge people VAT,” she said.

“So, we have to charge people VAT now even though the prime minister said that we’re going to be this economic recovery zone. That’s not happening here.”

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