NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government’s tax deferral and tax exemption programme has seen 61 percent of applications approved to-date to the tune of $5.7 million for the month of April, according to Acting Controller of Inland Revenue Gaynell Rolle. Rolle told Eyewitness News that that amount will likely increase by 15 percent. “To-date we have 83 applications in house,” she said. “Out of those 83 applications, 61 per cent have been approved to the tune of $5.7 million for the month of April alone impacting 5,410 employees. Eight per cent of the applications did not meet the basic requirements and another 31 per cent or 25 of those applications are presently being processed” Rolle said: “We anticipate that the $5.7 million figure in approved tax relief is going to increase for the month of May. As the word would have spread about the program we saw increased applications. We can look at that amount for April increasing almost 15 percent which means that we will also have an increase in the amount of employees being affected.” The tax deferral and tax exemption program provides large employers with a minimum annual turnover of $3 million to access payroll support to reduce the need for further layoffs. These companies must have at least 25 employees. Businesses will be able withhold VAT due or outstanding business license between April and June to assist in meeting payroll expenses. The government has budgeted some $60 million in revenue foregone over the next three months to facilitate the program in an effort to retain up to 10,000 private sector jobs.