I had very much hoped to be able to move on and not have to write anything more about the imposition of the 14% VAT on Private Education. But two recent events prompted this letter.
A few days ago, I met, very briefly, with a member of the Cabinet. That persons assured me, in front of three other persons, that “we are going to remove the 14% VAT.” Then I read in the newspaper over the weekend that the President also alluded to a similar position on the part of his government.
I asked the Minister when the tax would be removed as already more than 100 students have left Nations because they are unable to bear this added financial burden. The response was “soon, but not just now as we need so much money to re build the prison.”
If the decision exists to make the change then surely that acknowledges that it was a mistake in the first place. I suggested to the Minister that the change should be made very soon, in time for the new school year as students will simply miss their cut off dates for enrolments on the various international programmes that we offer.
In normal life when we make a mistake we are obliged to surely acknowledge the fact, correct the wrong as soon as possible and move on. A change in the next budget in no way meets these requirements of honest self-reflection and effective leadership.
Dr Brian O’Toole
School of Nations