MovieTowne breached investment agreement

Image: MovieTowne Guyana Facebook Page

– GRA boss says revenue body not to be blamed for delayed opening

GUYANA Revenue Authority (GRA) Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia has dismissed claims made in a Kaietuer News article headlined “MovieTowne owner decries red tape in US$40M Turkeyen investment,” published last Wednesday.

The article cited major contributing factors which prolonged the postponement of the opening of MovieTowne, including that equipment and seating were at the wharves for weeks, awaiting “simple” signatures.

Statia in a statement said by deduction, this implies that the revenue body may have been responsible for tardiness in clearing such equipment.
He noted that while the GRA is legally guided by the rules of confidentiality, it will set the record straight in this instance.

The commissioner-general noted that construction of MovieTowne commenced in 2011 and 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 be backdated to the commencement of construction.

The GRA, he said, advised that concessions cannot be backdated and should have been applied prior to the commencement of construction.

The entity 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.
“Rather than terminating the IDA, and notwithstanding the breach, the GRA agreed to allow both projects to continue, with the understanding that the available remedies under the said IDA will be enforced, subsequent to the completion of both projects.

“MovieTowne submitted an IDA application to Go-Invest, which was copied to the GRA and was advised in September 2017 by the GRA that only concessions similar to those granted to competitors in the industry will be allowed, and further that additional information was needed, inclusive of source of financing before a recommendation can be made to the Honourable Minister of Finance for approval,” Statia said.

He said 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.

Statia said on December 29, 2017, MovieTowne was granted an IDA consistent with those granted to competitors in the industry, which allows for the waiver of duty and VAT on certain equipment.