|Letter: Please don't increase our VAT, reduce it to 10 percent|
|Published on September 26, 2013||
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Whilst Saint Vincent’s government is considering raising the VAT ceiling from 15% to 17-1/2% or 20%, Saint Lucia's business people are demanding that the VAT be reduced from 15% to 10%.
A St Lucia business spokesman said, "VAT is one amongst other reasons why some businesses were going through tough times, while the slowing down of the economy is another, the Kenny Anthony government should have set the VAT ceiling at 10 per cent and increase it as the economic situation improves. The 15 per cent VAT is far too high in these harsh economic times."
The problem in SVG is that there is no one who dares to question PM Mr Gonsalves about the relevance and damaging effect of the application of an increased VAT, or anyone who dares question reducing the current 15% to 10%. Businessmen and journalists get shouted down and belittled whenever they try and raise anything about anything, let alone the crippling effect on the economy by high VAT charges. The other problem is, if you manage to get a question to Gonsalves, he sometimes will talk for hours about all sorts of crap except the actual question.
In Europe, VAT is added only to items classed as luxury items. In SVG, the supermarket adds 15% to callaloo, adds VAT to medicines and many necessities. Ultimately, it’s not the business that pays the VAT, it's the little man with a handful of dollars in his pocket; it’s the little man’s family that suffers. Because when the VAT is high, the little man buys less, children go to school hungry, old people are undernourished.
SVG applies VAT to all sorts of items that should be exempt, so it’s not just the businessman who feels the pinch, but the public are paying VAT on things that are totally unreasonable to pay on, and it's little more than downright governmental greed. I would say highway robbery, but our roads are in such a bad condition, highway robbers are unable to operate.
Self appointed keeper of the whistle
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Correction: when a question is posed to Gonsalves, it is always attracts a long and arduous response by the maximum leader, that often extends to matters that don't relate to the question. Press Conferences by this character is something to behold. In site of all the skills he boasts to have, he could definitely use some training in what is and is not a Prime Ministerial Press Conference. I have never heard so much crap being spoken in such a press conference in my life. It is an embarrassment.
Concerning the increase in vat, I suppose he needs to support the lavish lifestyle for himself, as well as to continue to buy the support of those that keep him in power. However, it is not sustainable. The spending power of the local population will continue on a downward spiral as there is no short term economic strategy in place to address the present situation existing in the country. Furthermore, there are more leakages to the local economy than ever before on account of extremely low productivity in most sectors and high dependency on imports of foreign goods and services.
Hi! Vincention, when you say skills are you talking about telling lies? Because he aint to skilled at that, prolific yes, skilled no.
Peter, St. Vincent and the Grenadines is becoming out of the reach of the ordinary Vincentian. I was reliably informed that our Prime Minister is running a socialist government under the pretence of democracy. This was uttered to me by someone who holds a ministerial post and perhaps one of his closest confident. The Prime Minister’s intention is to tax the life out all Vincentians. How much more can Vincentians bear? The level of taxation in SVG is not encouraging to any would be investor or persons like me who would like to return home to contribute the development of our country.
Our system of taxation was put in place to support the agenda of an overly ambitious Prime Minister, who is poised and creating a personal legacy and make his constituents happy. In other words once he has achieved his agenda and his constituency has all the nice roads and amenities, “to hell with the rest of the country”. Compare the amount of the projects that have taken in place in his constituency with a place like Marriaqua, the bread basket of our country. A constituency with approximately nine schools (three high schools and six primary schools); absolutely nothing.
Explain to me why Vincentians are required to pay 15% Vat, above 20% income tax, 110% on the importation of a vehicle, environmental tax on their water bill, above 30% duty on other imported items. Furthermore, why are we paying vat on essential items? Taxation is necessary to fund public infrastructure, capital projects, the functions of government and some statutory bodies but it should not be designed to burden on ordinary citizens as is our case. We need a system of sensible taxation and a strategic development plan that encompasses a multitude of changes.
Here is what we need going forward.
• Reduction in Vat to 10%
• Duty free exemption on all plant and equipment to set up any business no matter the size of the business
• A clear agricultural policy aimed at advancing the cultivation of mangoes, tea, tobacco and coffee for export
• Establishment of an aquaculture policy aimed at promoting fresh water fish farming, in particular tilapia, prawns and trout with further consideration to establish coastal fish farms
• Establishment of a meat and poultry industry through economies of scale in particular, pork, mutton, beef, lamb and chicken for export.
• Increase food processing capacity i.e. hams, sausages and other meat products
• Reduction in the size of government once there are increase in the number of available jobs in the private sector
• Reduction in duties on vehicles to 75% (one vehicle per household), any additional vehicle is charged at 85%
A focus on reducing the trade deficit by producing more locally would ultimately lead to the creation of more local businesses, lower unemployment rate, and an increase stream of foreign exchange through exports. Once we are able to export more and import less we can lower the vat to 7%. There would be lots of people employed thus increasing the level of disposable income per capita. We must follow South Korea, Malaysia and the Chinese model of development. They have emerged out of decades of poverty to become some of the most robust and successful economies in the world. We can do it, “we need brains not butter”.
AUGUSTAS, you are spot on. We are drowning in tax's and government borrowing that will never be able to pay back.
I think its all a Marxist master plan to drive out all the wealth producers and leave a poor but malleable class of person who can be moulded to a Marxist state to satisfy our current leadership. You cannot become a Cuban clone with all the old wealth that exists in SVG.