St. Kitts – Nevis Suspends Consumption Tax

St. Kitts - Nevis Locally Grown Produce

St. Kitts – Nevis Locally Grown Produce
Photo By Erasmus Williams

Basseterre, Saint Kitts – Nevis
April 23, 2008 2008 (CUOPM)

The consumption tax on a selected list of food and non-food items approved by the Cabinet last month, will be removed with effect from the first of next month, Minister of State with responsibility for Information, Sen. the Hon. Nigel Carty disclosed on Tuesday.

Minister Carty also disclosed that price control officers have been employed to ensure that the price on these food and non-food items go down so that the consumers benefit.

“Cabinet mandated that effective May 1, 2008, the consumption tax be removed from the following list: Chicken, processed cheese, pasta, corned beef, sardines, tinned tuna, vienna sausage, margarine, ketchup, diapers (for babies and adults), and baby formula. The consumption tax on these items ranges from 15 percent to 22.5 percent,’ said Sen. Carty following Monday’s Cabinet Meeting.

He said that the policy will be monitored by the newly-employed price control officers in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs to ensure that the prices of these items decrease as expected for the benefit of consumers.  Minister Carty said that the policy will be reviewed at the end of this year.

He disclosed that the Cabinet, after follow-up discussions with the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat and subject to the Ministry of Finance completing its full analysis, is reviewing the implementation date of the CET or the Common External Tariff.

The CET amounts to about a 5 percent tax imposed on a limited list of goods, and Cabinet believes that it is more helpful to consumers to fast-track the implementation of the removal of the higher consumption tax rather than the CET.

He noted that the Cabinet, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas continues to discuss the increasing price of fuel and the impact that this phenomenon is having on the overall cost of living. It was noted that the price of a barrel of oil on the international market had increased to over US$117.

The public would recall that towards the end of 2007, the Labour Government implemented a basket of goods whose prices are now regulated.

These goods include basic food items, basic medicine for chronic diseases, basic hygiene items and other non-food items. Under the regulation mechanism, limits have been imposed on the margins of profit that retailers and wholesalers can apply to the listed products.

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