Government’s Assistance with Concessions and Exemptions Is Impactful, Says Deputy Comptroller of Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 26, 2017 (SKNIS): Kennedy De Silva, Deputy Comptroller with responsibility for the management of Customs Operations within Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise Department, said that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has always been interested in promoting different sectors and this is seen as an impactful initiative.

Mr. De Silva was at the time appearing on “Working for You”, on Wednesday, January 25, where he mentioned a number of areas that benefit from such an initiative.

“One of the ways in which they do promotions is give you exemptions, so it is almost like government is investing in your business. It is just that they are not giving you the money but they are making it easy,” said the deputy comptroller, adding that the agriculture, education, health, sport and tourism sectors, as well as churches are just a few areas the government offers concessions or exemptions. “You import a computer and you don’t pay the full rate of duty. Why is that? Because that is a government policy. The first time home owners, we also manage that. That is a big one. Some family of yours sends a barrel or you went overseas to shop, the government has a little waiver of the first hundred pounds – you get that free.

“Everybody had a good Christmas? Well, they [the government] assisted the bands with equipment and everything under the entertainment sector. There are fishermen who also benefit from getting equipment on their boats -the boat engine for example, emergency radios and beacons and all of that,” he said. “Tourism is another one – even the yachting industry right now [even] though it is in its infancy stage, government even has provisions for that as well, so there are lots of different sectors that government helps out.”

The deputy comptroller said that renewable energy is a major focus for the government as well and as such it has waived some of the taxes on the high ticket items.

He noted that the government has been doing and continues to do a lot to assist persons where possible, especially as it relates to the Customs and Excise Department.

“I know sometimes we make demands on the government but we have to realize that in a lot of ways the government helps us that we are not even measuring,” he said. “You buy a tank of gas, the government subsidizes that. So there are a lot of things that we do at Customs, so we are not always collecting money, sometimes we are giving it away.”

Mr. De Silva used the occasion to invite the general public to the Department’s Open Day on Friday, January 27, which forms part of its week of activities to commemorate International Customs Day (ICD) on Thursday, January 26. He said that persons will get an opportunity to get to know more about the operations of the Department.

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