– says it facilitated clearing of cargo under PTP agreementThe Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is contending that it bears no responsibility whatsoever for the delay in Movietowne’s construction. According to the tax entity, it has in fact assisted the company in clearing its goods.The GRA statement comes in light of complaints emanating from Movietowne investor Derek Chin in regard to processing delays and red tape. GRA Commissioner General Godfrey Statia, in a statement to the media on Monday, noted that articles appearing in sections of the media imply tardiness on part of the GRA.“While legally guided by the rules of confidentiality, the GRA wishes to set the record straight in this instance. Construction of MovieTowne commenced in 2011. In mid-2017, the principal of MovieTowne first met with the GRA to discuss the issue of concessions, and at that meeting, requested that concessions beThe MovieTowne constructionbackdated to the commencement of construction. The GRA advised that concessions cannot be backdated, and should have been applied prior at the commencement of construction.“The GRA also advised the principal that equipment currently being utilised in the construction of MovieTowne was in breach of the terms of another Investment Development Agreement (IDA) since, based on the said IDA, equipment earmarked for use on another major project was being utilised in the construction of MovieTowne.”Statia claimed that instead of terminating the IDA on the basis of the breach, the GRA agreed to allow both projects to continue. He claimed that there was an understanding that the available remedies under the said IDA would be enforced after the projects were completed.He went on to explain that MovieTowne had submitted an IDA application to the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest). The company, Statia related, was in September 2017 advised by the GRA that only concessions in line with those granted to competitors in the industry would be allowed.This supports Chin’s subsequent statements to this publication, made in an interview in which he denied receiving preferential treatment.According to Statia, Chin was further advised that additional information would be needed, inclusive of source of financing, before a recommendation could be made to the Minister of Finance for approval.“MovieTowne’s container arrived at the wharf on October 21, 2017, and without the approval of the IDA, the GRA facilitated MovieTowne to clear its goods with a Prior to Processing (PTP) arrangement on November 19, 2017.” “The goods were uplifted on November 28, 2017, demonstrating that there were no delays on GRA’s part. On December 29, 2017, MovieTowne was granted an IDA consistent with those granted to competitors in the industry, which allow for the waiver of Duty and VAT on certain equipment.”Chin, a Guyana-born businessman, is currently constructing the first overseas branch of the Trinidad-based Movietowne franchise here in Guyana. During a recent tour however, Chin had spoken out about challenges facing the construction project at Turkeyen. Chin had noted that these challenges were costing the company, but that interactions with the Government had dwindled.“We have met with Government, and I don’t seem to meet with them anymore… to say that, ‘Mr Chin, how is your investment going? What can we do to help?’ So that communication link with the Government is very important… the Private Sector is the driver. The Government cannot outrun the Private Sector because it is the Private Sector. It has its own money, but the Private Sector needs to be given that encouragement,” Chin had said.Additionally, the businessman had said Government should be more involved in discussion with the Private Sector, and work hand in hand with that sector, since its members are the ones who are the drivers of the economy.