BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - PRIME MINISTER Dr Terrance Drew has confirmed that the expected two VAT Reduction Days would be on December 15 and 16, ahead of the Christmas rush.
He made the disclosure this morning (Nov. 7) while speaking at his monthly press conference, stressing that it is before Christmas so that citizens and residents could go shopping.
As the Government announces the reduction, there is a balancing act between consumers and small business owners as the rate of inflation continues to bite.
Against that backdrop, however, Dr. Drew informed that the Government has increased the concession rate from US$200 to US$250.
“...we have increased it because we are aware of inflation. Inflation that is being imported! I want to say to our people that the increases that we are seeing is because we have imported those increases,” Dr. Drew told reporters.
Because the Federation has a high potency on imported consumer items, it is bearing the cost of imported food amidst the growing rate of inflation The Prime Minister however noted that the region provides cheaper alternatives.
“So, for every product that we are accustomed to, we have an alternative. Why is it important to have an alternative? We cannot tell Kellogg how much to sell their stuff for, and you know that we have sought to decrease taxes in an effort to drop the prices. But if we take away everything, then the Government makes nothing. So we have to strike a balance,” added Dr Drew.
This will provide the country with the opportunity to assist with the food import bill, which is heavily reliant on foods from the United States.
“One of the ways of dealing with imported inflation is to deal with having options,” said the Prime Minister, who noted that one of those options is within the agriculture sector.
The Government has been trying to increase the level of food production within the country, as the low output has resulteds in dependency.