Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has declared that the reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT) announced last night during an address to the nation is just the beginning.
Chastanet said the tax will be reduced from fifteen to 12.5 percent come February next year.
Asked to respond to suggestions that the reduction might not be enough, the Prime Minister told News Reporters:
“”It’s fifty-two million dollars coming back into the economy.”
Chastanet added that the reduction delivers on a promise made by his United Workers Party (UWP) while in opposition.
He recalled that he had indicated in his address to the nation that the issue does not stop there.
“We are actually doing a complete review – we are putting together a model on different options that we have and early in the New Year I will announce a further amendment to the VAT bill,” Chastanet explained.
He said he wanted Saint Lucians to know that the reprieve was there and build confidence in the private sector that the cost of doing business in Saint Lucia is going to come down.
Chastanet expressed the view that VAT is a difficult tax for this part of the world, while asserting that is is the most effective tax.
However he pointed out with the disparities in income in Saint Lucia and the standard of living here, it is a tax that is affected once exemptions are made.
The Prime Minister told reporters outside parliament today that the report from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is very clear on that matter.
“We are taking all those things into consideration to move forward,” Chastanet said.