Martinelli not backing down
PANAMA. President Ricardo Martinelli appears to be holding firm to his commitment to raise $100 million in new taxes on businesses in t...
PANAMA. President Ricardo Martinelli appears to be holding firm to his commitment to raise $100 million in new taxes on businesses in the Colon Duty Free Zone (ZLC).
Angered by an anti-tax advertisement shown on television by the ZLC User’s Association (AU), at the eleventh hour Martinelli called off a meeting scheduled to take place with AU leaders yesterday.
In the advert, the AU claim to have paid millions of dollars to the state in the past, money which they say previous administrations “did not use for the benefit of the people”.
A presidential spokesperson, Judy Meana, said the AU did not seem to get the message.
“Until they understand that they don’t pay taxes, and that they need to stand together with the rest of us who do pay taxes, there can be no meeting,” she said.
Meana said that the proposed new tax law, to levy an additional $100 million for the national treasury through taxes on ZLC businesses, would remain under consideration by the National Assembly.
AU President Giovanni Fletcher, who at the time was discussing the tax reforms with the Treasury Commission, was taken by surprise by the announcement.
Ferrari said that all the ZLC wanted was the same treatment as users of the Special Economic Area of Howard.
He said that at some point the government would have to sit down to discuss the tax proposals with his members.
The ZLC has offered to pay $40 million in taxes