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SLASPA, Customs Explain Barrel Concessions

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by Neval Auguste

The Government of Saint Lucia, last month, announced the commencement of its annual concession program that allows nationals to import barrels and grocery items with reduced tariffs and fees.

The concession period spans November 1, 2023 to February 28, 2024.

The concessions aim to alleviate financial burdens on citizens during the festive season and beyond.

The program is managed through a collaborative effort between two key entities: The Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) and the Customs and Excise Department. Geena McPhee, Public Relations Officer for SLASPA, highlighted the role of the organization in facilitating this concession.

“SLASPA the facilitator of the process. We ensure that there is a safe space for barrels to come in and be stored. Our appointment system was launched in 2020 to improve the ease of doing business. Now, customers are able to make an appointment online and then come in to clear their barrels which enables a smooth transaction.”

Mr. Gilroy Polius, Supervisor of the Customs and Excise Department, elaborated on the department’s responsibilities in managing concessions.

“We are the ones who examine and determine whether the goods qualify for the barrel trade. An individual is allowed to bring in only two pieces per family during the concession period. The maximum value this year is EC$3000 per piece. Previously, it used to be EC$2500 per piece. The allowance increase was mandated by the government, so we simply ensure that whatever comes in meets those requirements. If you have consignments that are over that amount, then the balance will attract the regular rate of duty. The goods that qualify would be clothing, food stuffs, toys and household consumables.”

The concession period ensures that consumers pay no extra costs, health and safety rates, import duties or value added taxes on imported items.

SOURCE: Government Information Service

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