Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris has revealed some measures to help the people of the federation deal with the increasing “inflationary pressures” set to be implemented immediately.
Dr Harris on Monday said the Government approved amending the price build-up for gasoline so the increase in prices at the pump would be moderated.
“The Excise Tax on the importation of fuel was reduced from $2.25 per gallon to $0.95. This significant reduction will be in place from April to September 2022. The Government also granted an increase in the Gas Station Dealers Margin by $0.30.”
He added they will also extend the Fuel Subsidy Programme for an additional six months until September 2022.
“These measures are being done to mitigate the cost of fuel at the pump and to keep the cost of public transportation affordable for our people.”
The prime minister who is also the Minister of Finance said they will also extend the Income and Disability Support Programmes for an additional three months running up to June 2022.
“This will further assist workers who remain unemployed, are on significantly reduced wages or have additional expenses from caring for children with disabilities. Several heads of household have told me how beneficial the disability support has been to their families. I am happy that my government will extend this support.”
He also announced that the government will reintroduce the duty-free allowance that is usually during December on the importation of food items by non-commercial importers from May 01st to September 30, 2022.
“This will be the longest period that such generous concessions have been granted to our people. This initiative would allow households to import 500 pounds of food items free of duties and taxes. This measure will benefit persons on low incomes who spend a higher portion of their earners on food.”
Dr Harris also revealed that the government will place an eight-month cap on the freight cost that is used in the calculation of duties and taxes that are paid on the importation of goods.
“The cap will be set at the average freight cost for 2019, the year immediately preceding the onset of the pandemic. It is anticipated that this cap would help to moderate the rise in prices that is being observed as a result of increased freight costs.
“Let me take this opportunity to make very clear this Government’s firm expectation that all suppliers must pass on the benefit of this concession to consumers who face rising prices. The Department of Consumer Affairs will enhance monitoring of these developments to ensure that savings are passed on to the consumers.”
He also noted that they would extend for an additional 6-month the removal of VAT and Import Duty on hygiene items and the removal of Import Duty and Customs Service Charge on selected items such as vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices, cough and cold preparations and vitamin supplements.
“We have articulated a coherent and far-reaching set of policies intended to extend social protection for workers and to protect workers’ interests. Over the years, we have demonstrated our solidarity with workers through the support provided to workers’ unions.”