The Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance the Hon Mark Brantley revealed the Nevis Island Administration 2018 budget which included no new taxes but upcoming increases in water and the removal of certain concessions for businesses.

The budget address was held on Monday at the Nevis Island Assembly, Hamilton House.

The Premier said that tax free budget  is an incentive to stimulate economic activities in the private sector as a means to drive further growth in the economy. The Premier informed that a long awaited 30 percent increase will be applied on all water consumes’ bills.

“It is therefore imperative that my government seeks to do a review of the existing water rates to bring them in line with the cost of upgrading our water supply and distribution system. In fact, as a condition for the Caribbean Development Bank, CDB loan negotiated by our predecessors in government, approval was granted for a 30% increase in water rates across all sectors.

“This increase was approved but never implemented. Therefore, as we near the completion of the project, during this fiscal year my government will seek to implement an increase in water rates in keeping with the agreement for the loan funding under this project from the CDB,” Brantley said.

Brantley added that currently they are working on completing the final phase of the over $20 million CDB Nevis Water Supply Enhancement Project a project that is to develop an efficient, sustainable and adequate supply of potable water on the island of Nevis by enhancing our water supply network capacity; building capacity; and strengthening the institutional and legislative management of our water resources.

Work completed to date includes the Water Resource Management Study, construction of six Reservoirs or storage tanks, construction of two of the three Pump Stations, procurement of ancillary equipment including backup Generators along with the laying of over 68,125 feet of pipelines throughout the island.

Brantley said that later this year the Nevis Water Department will have full responsibility for management and maintenance of wells at Maddens Estate and Fothergills Estate as Bedrock Exploration and Development,  BEAD contract nears an end.

“ Mr. President, it is important to note that these wells when completed and tested will be handed over to the NIA and the Nevis Water Department will have full responsibility for management and maintenance of these well. Put differently, these wells will be the sole property of the Government and people of Nevis. This is very much unlike the previous BEAD arrangement negotiated by the former NRP led Administration whereby the wells are owned by BEAD and the NIA had to purchase water monthly from BEAD for a ten (10) year period”.

Continuing in the budget Brantley said that they will  eliminate the random policy of granting duty free vehicles to business entities

“Mr. President, we will eliminate the random policy of granting duty free vehicles to business entities unless it can be proven that the vehicle is essential for the business to operate. The deciding test will be whether the absence of a vehicle will makes the business cease to exist,” he said.

He noted that Duty free concessions will only be granted to startup businesses on the purchase of furniture and equipment only while existing businesses should now be in a position to provide adequate funding for replacement of capital items when they are fully depreciated.

“ In addition, my government will no longer continue the policy of granting concessions to or contracting services from business entities which are continuously in arrears of taxes to the Inland Revenue Department. Suitable arrangements for payment would have to be in place before such entities can be considered for further concessions or contracts.”

Premier Brantley said that  his government will also review rates charged across the health sector which will include the disposal of garbage at the landfill, review of fees and charges in relation to the operations of vehicular traffic on roads ,greater measures to improve our collection of Property Taxes and expedite the registration of newly constructed property to the tax roll.

Measures to improve our collection of Property Taxes and expedite the registration of newly constructed property to the tax roll.

Dates for implementation have not yet been revealed.