Though the Order Paper has not yet been circulated to the lawmakers, Clerk of the House, Mr. Jose Lloyd, indicated that the Assembly is expected to commence debate at 10:00am.
He said the Order Paper will be circulated at a later date.
The release stated that Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Denzil L. Douglas will lay on the Table, the Estimates for 2012 and the Report of the Director of Audit for 2010, before introducing the Appropriation Act, 2012.
The Budget Address or presentation will be made on the Second Reading of the Act.
The Appropriation Act provides for the services of St. Kitts and Nevis for the financial year from January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2012.
Though the Prime Minister has already indicated that no new taxes are to be expected in the Budget, residents are however bracing themselves for “higher” taxes and fees for various Government services, that many feel will be increased, as the administration tries to reduce the burgeoning National Debt.
For most citizens however, any further increase in the cost of living would only hurt the poor, cause small businesses to close, and generally create even more hardships in the country.
As a countermeasure however, government recently announced a number of initiatives to assist citizens during the Christmas period, to help reduce their financial burden on food expenditure.
Residents will be allowed to import the equivalent of three barrels of foodstuff, free of customs duties, said an earlier government release. Food imports up to EC$1,500 are being allowed per person.
This however has not gone down well with the local Chamber of Commerce, who feels that instead of encouraging citizens to travel overseas to buy and import thousands of dollars of foodstuff for the busy Christmas and Carnival Season, it would have been more prudent for the Government to offer the same level of exemption for food purchases in St. Kitts & Nevis.
The Chamber feels that this would be a “win-win” situation for residents and local businesses that have been hurting and struggling to survive the difficult economic environment in which they now find themselves.
According to the Chamber, it would be better for local businesses to be helped, rather than causing a leakage via foreign purchases that support companies overseas rather than those at home. There has been no indication that Government intends to consider the recommendation of the private sector body.