Windfall For Labour Party Coffers
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 28, 2012 (SKNIS)
Prime Minister the Right Honourable Dr Denzil Douglas opened his first monthly press conference of 2012 on Wednesday January25, 2012 with expressions of high praise for the Value Added Tax initiative introduced in St. Kitts and Nevis in November 2010.
The Prime Minister said with pride that VAT had exceeded the government’s expectations in more than one way ““ the first being the number of businesses that registered for the programme in VAT’s first year – November 2010 to November 2011. According to the Prime Minister, also the Minister of Finance, the revenues collected from VAT in both islands have exceeded projected figures.
In Nevis, government projected VAT revenue of 24 million East Caribbean Currency Dollars for 2011, but the amount actually collected was EC$29 million, 5 million dollars more than was projected. In St. Kitts, the VAT amount projected to be collected for 2011 was EC$79 million, but the amount actually collected was EC$104 million, some 25 million dollars more than was projected.
In December of 2011, government declared a special VAT day in order to reduce the cost of Pre-Christmas spending for consumers. The level of response by consumers also far exceeded expectations.
“Some 12.8 million dollars in sales took place at 7% VAT that particular day, and the government returned to consumers through this reduced VAT, some 1.004 million dollars” said Prime Minister Douglas. “One million dollars was given back to consumers by the government on that particular day in December.”
As to the future of the VAT programme, the Finance minister said that the Government will continue to examine the logistics of the programme through consultations with traders and consumers. He underscored however, that the VAT revenue was critically important to “keep the engine and machinery of government turning over” and will be used to ensure the continuity of services provided by the government like paying teachers, keeping hospitals open, feeding children hot meals, providing school books and uniforms and paying student examination fees.
Businesses also came in for high praise from the Inland Revenue Department for their cooperation in the initiative.
“The Inland Revenue Department would like to thank businesses who, having registered and cooperated in the implementation process ensured that the appropriate taxes were collected and submitted in a timely manner in accordance with the VAT Act” said Acting Comptroller of Inland Revenue Department Mr. Edward Gift. “Though some businesses are still not in full compliance, the Inland Revenue Department is still willing to assist in bringing them to a state of full compliance with the VAT Act.”