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Nov 30, 2001

P.M. says BTL taxes will not be lowered

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When B.T.L. faced off with the press three weeks ago regarding the new rates, the telecommunications company said the price hikes were, in part, a result of taxes: namely the business and income taxes they are forced to pay by government. But when News 5 spoke with Prime Minister Said Musa about B.T.L.’s gripe, the P.M. says the request to lower the company’s taxes will not be considered.

Prime Minister Said Musa

“Under the existing law, all we can do is if there are sufficient persons raising objections or concerns, then the utilities commission will be holding public hearings. And resulting from those hearings, I believe they will have a right to call on BTL to justify this rebalancing and increase in rates in some rates.”

Janelle Chanona

“Now BTL has called on Government to repeal Sales Tax and to look at the payments as far as income tax. Will the government ever consider such a move?”

Prime Minister Said Musa

“Absolutely not. Why should the government? BTL is making huge profits irrespective of the sales tax, irrespective of the business tax and that tax was put in to replace the thirty percent business tax, the income tax that was there before. There is no increase in fact between the thirty percent tax and the nineteen percent business tax, it works out to about the same. So the rates are not unreasonable for that utility which has been making very substantial profits.”

While the new rates will mean cheaper cell and international calls, essentially, B.T.L. has doubled rates for line rental and local calls.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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