VAT to be removed from food items in April

Speaking to the nation on state television on 25th Wednesday, in his first official address as prime minister, Dr. Timothy Harris announced that the tax would be removed from essential items, while noting that lower taxes are good for the development of the economy. 

“Effective April 7, 2015, VAT on all food in St. Kitts and Nevis will end. Not only will this ease the tax burden on families in our federation, it will stimulate economic activity which will create employment opportunities for many,” Prime Minister Harris said.

Currently, St. Kitts and Nevis has one of the highest VAT rates in the Caribbean posted at 17 percent. Dr. Harris noted that the citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis have “suffered badly from the imposition of the highest introductory rate of VAT in the Caribbean”.

In keeping with their pledge outlined in Team Unity’s manifesto, Prime Minister Harris said the removal of VAT also extends to funerals and medicine.

“We will deliver on our commitment to relieve our people of the burden of VAT on essential items like medicines and funeral expenses.  These will take effect, also, from April 07, 2015,” the prime minister stated.

While he specifically named food, medicines and funeral expenses, the prime minister made no reference to other items that Team Unity indicated in their manifesto would be exempt from VAT, such as educational supplies and supplies for persons with disabilities.

Nevertheless, he reaffirmed the Team’s commitment to provide relief for citizens and residents.

“Team Unity promised a better way, we promised prosperity for all and this initiative represents a fresh start on that new journey. We will deliver on our commitment to relieve our people of the burden of VAT on essential items like medicines and funeral expenses,” the PM noted.                                 

Prime Minister Harris also reiterated his government’s commitment in the fight against poverty in the Federation and to provide the necessary support needed by the small and medium enterprises in the country.

“Team Unity promised relief from the burdensome taxes and the high cost of living,” Prime Minister Harris said, adding, “Many were hardly able to buy their food. Small and medium sized businesses had to close, as their cost of doing business was too high. Single mothers had it hard to make ends meet. Poverty was exacerbated,” said the prime minister, indicating, “We are committed to fight poverty and to give the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) the support, which they need.”

According to Prime Minister Harris, he was please to keep the promise of Team Unity.

“I am pleased to report that we are keeping our promises.  After all, a promise only has value if it is kept.”




 

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