Citizens & Residents Benefiting from Unprecedented Number of Back-To-School Economic Relief Measures

Permanent Secretary Mrs. Lisa Pistana

Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis are benefiting from an unprecedented number of fiscal incentives designed to help reduce back-to-school spending by parents and guardians.

The incentives include temporary concessions on the importation of school supplies from July 10 to September 30 and two VAT Reduced Days on August 25 and 26. Earlier this week, the Cabinet Secretary announced that the Cabinet approved two new additional measures. They are enhanced financial support for public and private nurseries, day cares and pre-schools as well as a back-to-school voucher initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education, the Honourable Dr Geoffrey Hanley, explained that the government “cares” and is committed to leaving no child behind.

“We recognize that there are some challenges as it relates to ready cash as it relates to families because persons have not yet bounced back from the pandemic and as a caring government it is our responsibility to try to … ease the squeeze. So, this is yet another initiative that we have brought on board,” he stated on the August 16 edition of the radio and television programme InFocus.

The deputy prime minister added that the fiscal incentives will help single mothers in particular, a group that has benefited from significant social protection measures over the past year.

Permanent Secretary Mrs Lisa Pistana said that supporting private daycare centres is critical as they represent most of the early childhood centres. There are 15 government daycare institutions compared to 72 private centres.

L-R: Mrs Lisa Pistana; Hon. Dr Geoffrey Hanley; Host Ian Richards

“We see these economic relief measures as important and critical to helping bolster the private sector of the early childhood division in particular,” she said. “The relief is spread across zero [years] right up to 17 and it is a necessary measure so that people can get back on their feet again.”

Mrs Pistana added that while some parents may have completed their shopping already, there are still opportunities to be seized.

“If you know anything about education, it is dynamic and so there is always a project, and projects require funding and materials, and you can’t go into [stores] and say credit me the manila or whatever so there is always a constant need,” she indicated.

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