The Tax Administration Management Information System (TAMIS) was implemented in 2018 for business and individuals filed one year later. From all reports it was implemented at great expense to taxpayers. It should be an easy process to identify the cost of government projects but as we have found out with the Trident ID project as one example, it is not.
TAMIS has caught the interest because of utterances from Commissioner of the Barbados Revenue Authority Louisa Lewis-Ward in May of 2021. She was quoted that discussions had NOT reached an advance stage on if TAMIS had to be replaced.
“…The directors are taking a look at it in earnest to see how far we can go to rectify some of the issues which caused taxpayers discomfort in the system…The system did cost quite a pretty penny and therefore, it’s not an easy decision to make to throw the baby out with the bath water. We’ve just moved from one system to another…and the TAMIS system was supposed to be the technological replacement, so we will take a look at the system in earnest…Barbados Today
A few days later a similar utterance came from Prime Minster Mottley where she was quoted as saying, “This country has been the victim of the most set of unfortunate circumstances for the procurement of software in too many instances of Government departments and software that when we check it, we either negotiated poorly because they are asking us to be able to pay large sums of money for basic changes when we should not be paying, and I am referring to what happened at the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) with the software that we have inherited there and I’m referring to what happened equally at the BRA”. The truth is both political parties are guilty of agreeing to questionable agreements resulting in squandermania. Mottley could have also mentioned the procurement issues of the NIS software system and elements of EDUTECH that bordered on malfeasance and incompetence.
It seems the government is now at an advanced stage of identifying a replacement system for TAMIS. It has to be replaced because software maintenance under the contractual arrangement is cost prohibitive; production reports are not adequate to provide relevant management information along with legacy issues associated linked to poor implementation. One may justifiably surmise that the poor TAMIS implementation gives credence to the growing reputation of government’s poor implementation record.
In all seriousness, it is farcical, abominable and criminal that in less than five years a decision has to be made to replace TAMIS. Bear in mind the financial and non financial cost associated with replacing a tax system in a country. Surely we have reached a point where enough is enough. While the ire of public will be directed at the government – and correctly so – for signing off on the procurement of a software at TAMIS, NIS, BWA and other government agencies through the years NT fit for purpose, we should not give public servants involved a bly. The blogmaster understands in the case of the procurement of the TAMIS software, government at the time accepted the recommendation from a team comprised of public servants.
What must taxpayers do to hold public officials accountable under our system of governance? Whither the fourth estate to investigate and keep at the forefront issues of this nature which point to malfeasance and incompetence?
And the beat goes on!