St Lucia, Monday July 16, 2012 – St Lucians will be joining their peers in
Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Grenada in paying 15 per cent in Value Added
Tax (VAT) before this year is out.
is because the St Lucia Senate has passed the VAT Act, and everything looks on
course for the revised October 1 implementation date.
Lucia will now become the last independent member state in the Caribbean
Community (CARICOM) to introduce the indirect tax regime that will replace a
current slate of taxes and duties. While VAT on goods and services are to be
levied at 15 per cent, it will be at eight per cent for the hotel sector.
the rest of CARICOM, Barbados levies 17.5 per cent VAT; St. Kitts and Nevis, 17
per cent; Haiti’s rate is 10 per cent, Suriname’s dual tax rate of 10 per cent
on goods and eight per cent on services, is just ahead of Belize at 12.5 per
cent. Montserrat has no VAT system.
to the Caribbean Media Corporation, during last week’s parliamentary debate
there were calls from two independent senators – a doctor and a hotelier – for
a further delay in VAT, and government Senator Debra Tobierre, a business owner
in the south, admitted that all of her questions on the indirect tax were yet
to be answered.
she supported the bill while at the same time making a call for more public
information during the transition to the tax.
independent senators, Dr Stephen King and Berthia Parle, said they would have
preferred to see a delay in the full implementation of VAT to give businesses
more time to prepare.
King, a former chief medical officer, suggested a “testing period” of up to
three months and a “forgiving period” of at least one month “before going
he argued for the use of VAT revenue to avert “a major crisis” in the country’s
health services and to encourage better nutrition among St Lucians.
said that operation of the new hospital to be completed by year end and a
reconstructed St. Judes Hospital in the south would require an additional 50
million EC dollars (18.5 million US dollars).
Parle, a veteran hotel executive, acknowledged that no member of the formal
business community was opposed to the VAT.
understand the imposition of VAT but there are serious concerns,” she said.
of Government Business and Minister of Home Affairs Senator Phillip La
Corbiniere presented the bill from the lower house with the admission that VAT
in any country would lead to both price rises and cuts for consumers.
he informed members that most food items had been placed in a “VAT-exempt food
response to concerns about the fate of prescription medicines in the VAT
legislation, Senator La Corbiniere said Castries had applied to the CARICOM
Secretariat for the removal of all import duties on medicines.
minister said his eight-month-old administration came to office facing “a very
challenging economic period which made it even more difficult to raise revenue
which is going to be needed to sustain employment and support economic growth.”
said it is with that kind of challenge in mind that government has had to face
the “inevitable implementation” of the Value Added Tax.
prompted opposition senator and former agriculture minister Ezekiel Joseph to
claim that the governing St. Lucia Labour Party had changed its position on
VAT, claiming that Prime Minister Kenny Anthony once referred to it “as an
oppressive tax” which his party never considered it as the wisest choice for
Post a Comment