Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 26, 2015 (SKNIS): In a national address last night, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris announced that effective April 7, 2015, Value Added Tax (VAT) on food, medicine and funeral expenses will end.
“I understand that for many of you, the government of national unity means economic relief,” Prime Minister Harris emphasized. “You voted because we promised relief. You voted because many of you work two jobs and you want a fair share of this nation’s prosperity. You want a level playing field. There are poor families in this country who struggle everyday to make ends meet. They just need a helping hand. How do we grow our middle class if we continue to put unnecessary economic barriers that keep them from growing? Team Unity promised relief from the burdensome taxes and the high cost of living.”
Prime Minister Harris referred to the economic burden placed on the people when VAT was introduced on November 1, 2010, by the former administration.
“The people of St Kitts and Nevis suffered badly from the imposition of the highest introductory rate of VAT in the Caribbean, at 17%,” Prime Minister Harris elaborated. “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.”
In announcing the new tax (relief) measure, Dr. Harris reiterated his administration’s commitment to fight poverty, narrow the inequality gap, stimulate economic activity and increase employment opportunities, by putting more money in people’s pockets.
“We believe that the road to prosperity means money in your pockets to save, to spend or to invest,” Prime Minister Harris concluded. “Lastly, low taxes are good for economic growth. Therefore, 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. 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. These will take effect also from April 7, 2015. Our priority will always be to ensure prosperity for all.”