first_img… as Education Minister given preview of recordsChartered accountant and prominent lawyer, Christopher Ram has noted with concern the announcement by Government that its Finance Ministry has records of private schools’ tax information and has since called for clarity.Ram raised the issue when he made a contribution to the consultation between Government and stakeholders on the removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education.The accountant highlighted that the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) is the only body in Guyana that should have tax records of taxpayers and that any such information must be confidential.Education Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, in defending the need to charge an education tax on private schools, said records in the Finance Ministry show that many of the institutions have been slipping on their tax requirements.“The records from the Ministry of Finance demonstrate that the schools are able to absorb the VAT. Of the private schools that are operating in Guyana, 57 per cent of them are currently registered with the GRA,” the Minister said as he began disclosing some statistics regarding the status private institutions in the country with respects to paying taxes.But, Ram challenged the Minister’s presentation and contended that neither he nor any Government official should be privy to tax records of taxpayers.“I’m not aware that the Ministry of Finance is in anyway a regulator of schools in Guyana and the situation was compounded when he said the Government has information on the schools that are not paying taxes. That’s a very serious statement to make, only the GRA has that information and the GRA and its officers are under a statutory duty of secrecy and confidentiality when it comes to information on any taxpayer,” he stated.Ram further told <<>> on Saturday during a telephone interview that he finds the statement “disturbing” and that it would be best for the Minister to clarify what he meant.“I think it’s in the interest of the integrity of the GRA that that statement be clarified because the GRA has a rule that it ought not to be giving out information on taxpayers,” he posited.The Education Minister had also disclosed that 10 per cent of private institutions are registered at non-profit organisations, and 14 per cent as profit-making entities.He also revealed that most private schools make approximately over $300,000 in tuition fees per year per person, depending on the level of studies.Dr Roopnaraine said the revenues generated by the top private schools exceed $2 billion annually.He noted that the estimate does not include extra charges by the institutions for additional services.He further announced that there is a high level of noncompliance of the timely submission of the required income, property and corporation returns and the payment of taxes.He said in some cases, teachers are treated as contract employees and employers are not deducting the appropriate NIS and PAYE from their salaries.The Minister also announced that there are incidents of under declaration and inflated expenditure so as to avoid paying taxes. “Payments are made to individuals other than institutions to facilitate these under declarations,” he noted.In this regard, the Minister had argued that “it is clear” that private institutions can absorb VAT without passing it on to the students.Finance Minister Winston Jordan had previously disclosed to the media some information regarding the tax status of private schools in the country.last_img read more

first_imgNowadays the battle for the top spot as the wealthiest person in the world is usually wagged between CEO’s and celebrities. Today’s billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates all circle around $100 billion mark. None of them ever reached the (inflation-adjusted) net worth of John D. Rockefeller who had amassed the equivalent of around $340 billion by the time he died in 1937. However, one historical figure beats them all, and it is hard to imagine anyone will catch up with him any time soon.The richest man in history officially remains Mansa Musa I, the 10th mansa (emperor) of the mighty Empire of Mali — one of the largest, and richest, empires in West African history. His inflation-adjusted wealth at the time was the equivalent of $400 billion.Mansa Musa I. Photo by HistoryNmoor CC BY-SA 4.0Mansa Musa rose to power in 1312, taking the throne from Abu-Bakr II. Abu-Bakr appointed Musa as his deputy, today’s equivalent of a vice-president, while he set-out to explore the Atlantic Ocean and the other side of the world.As Abu-Bakr failed to return home from his adventures, Musa was the one to inherit his place on the throne and continue ruling the people of Mali. Musa, additionally, had very important roots — his great uncle Sundiata Keita was the founder of the Mali Empire.Genealogy of the kings of the Mali Empire based on the chronicle of Ibn KhaldunSundiata’s people began amassing wealth by acting as middlemen who controlled much of the gold trade in the area. He and successive emperors expanded their territory, invading gold-laden lands to the south. Under Musa I the Mali Empire grew to its height, pushing westward along the Niger to encompass the important trading centers of Timbuktu and Gao.The empire was rich in resources and thrived under his rule. The citizens of the Mali Empire were becoming richer with the expanses that Musa was leading.The Medieval Mali Empire at the end of Mansa Musa’s reign (1337 CE) Gabriel Moss CC BY-SA 4.0Two of the most important resources that abounded were gold and salt. It is believed the gold on Musa’s territory amounted for the half of the world’s reserves.Related Video: Divers Stumble Upon 2,000 ‘Priceless’ Gold CoinsAs the European countries and nations were waging wars and the resources were needed badly, he used this opportunity to trade smartly and amass even more wealth. Which was a lot.Detail from the Catalan Atlas showing Mansa Musa sitting on a throne and holding a gold coin (c.1375)Besides trading he used his resources to strengthen the cultural hubs like Timbuktu. He legendarily built one mosque every Friday of his rule. Be that as it may, it is certain that he left a legacy of splendid mosques some of which still exist today. Together with them he granted his people universities that he built throughout the country.The Great Mosque at Djenne in Mali – near Timbuktu. It is the largest mud building in the world1324 was the year when the world outside of his empire witnessed just how rich this man and people under his rule were. A devout Muslim, Musa set out on pilgrimage to Mecca. He was not alone on this 4000-mile voyage. He brought his people with him.Musa’s entourage comprised 60,000 men, dozens of animals beside the camels on which they rode, and an unimaginable amount of gold. Like many rich people today, Musa was a philanthropist. He made his own wealth, but also wanted for the others to share in his riches. He and his group generously gave gold to people on the streets along their way.Catalan Atlas BNF Sheet 6In addition, his entourage purchased so many things that they set a huge amount of gold in circulation on the market. His Hajj ended up affecting the whole global economy. As so much gold hit the market, the value of it went down quickly.A manuscript page from TimbuktuMusa and his empire were unimaginably rich. His fortune can not be compared to our contemporary billionaires. Jacob Davidson wrote for Time, “There’s really no way to put an accurate number on his wealth.” Despite Mansa Musa’s incomparable wealth, it took just two generations of bad budgeting for his heirs to spend the riches he left as his legacy.Read another story from us: Redheads have been Feared and Vilified Throughout History – Here’s WhyLastly, his worth does not sit in the money he had but in the manner he spent it. He made his citizens more than financially stable and satisfied and left an important cultural legacy behind.last_img read more