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Chastanet: P.M. Has ‘Missed The Mark’

UWP Political Leader, Allen Chastanet, speaks with reporters outside the House of Assembly last Tuesday. [Photo: Stan Bishop]
UWP Political Leader, Allen Chastanet, speaks with reporters outside the House of Assembly last Tuesday. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

FOUR proposed amendments to the Value Added Tax (VAT) system are expected to bring relief to the local business sector, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony announced in this year’s Budget Statement Tuesday evening.

In his three-hour-long presentation in the House of Assembly, Dr. Anthony said the VAT threshold will be raised from $180,000 to $400,000, causing over 600 VAT registrants to no longer collect VAT on the government’s behalf.

The second proposed amendment will be a deferred tax system for the importation of capital goods. With the new measure, registered and existing businesses can request a deferred payment to eliminate the possible cash flow problems resulting from investment in large capital goods.

“Taxpayers who meet the required conditions will be allowed to defer payment of VAT on the importation of selected goods,” the Prime Minister said. “Accounting for the VAT will be a book entry and as such no cash payment is required.”

According to Dr. Anthony, improved cash flow as a result of no upfront payment of VAT on importation of capital goods, a lower required funding and cost of financing such capital goods, and a better perception of the island as a place where the ease of doing business, will all benefit the business sector.

The exemption of unconditional gift of service and importation of replacement goods is the third proposed amendment addressed by the Prime Minister. Already the VAT Act makes provision for an unconditional gift to the State. The Prime Minister proposed that such provisions also cover an unconditional gift of service rendered to the State.

Under that that third proposed amendment, the Prime Minister said Schedule Three of the VAT Act will be amended so as to exempt items that would have been re-imported to Saint Lucia having attracted VAT initially and later found faulty and needed to be replaced.

The fourth proposed amendment to the VAT Act will ensure that refunds are paid automatically, replacing the system whereby businesses dealing in zero-rated supplies to apply for a monthly refund on prescribed application forms.

“This will minimize the administrative burden on the (Inland Revenue) Department and the business and further confirms that we have an efficient VAT refund system in Saint Lucia,” Dr. Anthony said.

Meanwhile, Political Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Allen Chastanet, says the Prime Minister has “missed the mark”. Describing the Prime Minister’s Budget Statement as “a campaign budget”, Chastanet said the economy can only grow if the productive capacity is strengthened.

Chastanet, who sat in the House of Assembly throughout the proceedings, told The VOICE afterwards that the proposed changes to the VAT system signal a positive move on some levels.

“I think increasing the threshold was the right thing because a lot of the small businesses are suffering,” Chastanet said. “I still think it’s too complicated a tax for a lot of the small businesses. Having exemptions in the tax system creates all kinds of accounting problems. That’s when VAT starts to become more complicated to analyze. So it may be better to lower the level of VAT and make it across-the-board and a much easier tax to manage.”

Managing Director of Caribbean Awning Production Company Ltd, Paula Calderon, told The VOICE yesterday that the four proposed changes to the VAT system have both their pros and cons. Since the inception of the VAT system here in October 2012, Calderon has been a vocal critic of the disadvantages the new tax system poses to especially small businesses.

“This will certainly help the small businesses in Saint Lucia to survive as we have seen many of them go out of business,” Calderon said of the Prime Minister’s announcement to increase the VAT threshold. “Bear in mind, however, that this revenue must come from somewhere as we can see this increase in other areas like vehicle increase, etc.”

As for the deferred tax system on the importation of capital goods, Calderon said the new measure will assist both local and foreign investors as far as cash flow and creating the perception of the ease of doing business are concerned. Nevertheless, she said, the necessary protocol and paperwork must be simplified for the system to work efficiently.

“Preferably, it would be more encouraging if all investors who initially set up shop in Saint Lucia not pay VAT on their initial equipment,” Calderon said.

Calderon endorses the proposed amendments for the exemption of VAT on importation of replaced goods as well as the reduction of paperwork that will come about as a result of the ease of refunds to zero-rated businesses.

The House of Assembly reconvenes today for the Budget Debate that is expected to end tomorrow.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

10 Comments

  1. Only the unelected shall break the “Song Of Silence” on this budget!
    So it is written so shall it be exexecuted-
    At the point of a ball-is-tick missile :’)

    Seconded by Pharoh Ramses

  2. I would ask Kim Jong Wong AlEn, is he void of all shame, so as to be such a bold-faced fraudster, just being a charlatan. Pretending to be interested in the people of St. Lucia all of a sudden, when your history, from not finding ONE Black woman in Soufriere good enough to marry, and let her teach you how to speak kweyol, while leading a fraudulent march calling Black people NIGGERS. Kim Jong Wong Chastante can you please do us a favor and tie a big stone around your neck and swim from Tapion to Vegie.

    1. “… do us a favor and tie a big stone around your neck and swim from Tapion to Vegie.”
      ———————————————————————————————–
      Son-of-man would rather send a brother to meet an untimely death in the polluted sewer-waters of the Castries harbour than to use rhetoric and logic to persuade the brother.

      That’s stooping very, very low; but then again, it is Son-of-man we are talking about.

  3. Chastanet said. “I still think it’s too complicated a tax for a lot of the small businesses. Having exemptions in the tax system creates all kinds of accounting problems. That’s when VAT starts to become more complicated to analyze. So it may be better to lower the level of VAT and make it across-the-board and a much easier tax to manage.”

  4. Tommy you are gonna need many Tum Tums to settle your tummy in your quest to comprend SOM
    The man is a BELIEVER! THERE IS NO COMPROMISE in his quest to embrace godly learnings
    On the other hand , we LIBERAL infidels tend to DECOMPOSE God to conform to our material understandings and needs.
    Even our Bible recounts the Great Morning “Star” (You know who) and his need to emulate rather than serve Our Omnipotent Divine God (perhaps he was intoxicated on Power).
    Therein is the prime premier demarcation of Power / Authority
    The crazed power-filled seem tilted towards obsessional cravings for Authority. The drive to emulate god.
    Bonaparte fired his cannons on the Egyptian Sphinx totransfigure its NUBIAN nose (as a demonstration of authority)
    Kim Jon executed his top general by artillery meant to shoot down B-52 bomberson the pettiest of imagined offenses (as a demonstration of authority)
    Remember Henri Christophe how he marched HIS loyal soldiers atop his citadel to their certain death -as a show (to visiting EURO dignitaries of HIS Authority
    Tom Tom until you actualize the SPIRITUAL realm of the Divine Path, the best weapon you can inherit is a Hungarian Gypsy switch blade
    But your nemesis seems well underway to inheriting a scimitar from Saladin’s inventory
    Back to the brief article
    Papa Chas your ultra right Tea Party policices of trickle down Reaganomics would serve as fire starters for latent anarchists.
    When developed countries are in a recession they can crank out armanents to sell to the deep pocketed high rollers. They also have a populace that is highly educated -thus trainable-retoolable for the subsequent rethinking of the course direction of the revenue/productive stimulation of the econonomy.
    Less than 1/5 of Stlucia would be able to respond to tea party reganomics.
    Do you have a fire fighting plan for the 4/5 les miserables and malaway who storm the bastille and grande maisons of your gated enclaves.
    They shall not eat cake when the pangs of hunger enflame their acrid anger.
    We should be grateful for the buffet of ideologies that is currently served by this peoples leader. In times of national crisis or war the best leaders are the ones ho can peddle hope as well as simple strategies.
    Your article offers off the cuff bourgeoise/aristocratic strategies. Fact is this stone will not fly in the best trade or noreast winds of small island politics.
    I do respect the upper crust but their silver spoon can even afford the luxury of Colombian “talcum powder” (pun intended).

  5. Shall we take a peek/listen to TOM TOM’s deepest message to SOM…….. ever!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QV_9pn7MGUo
    My analysis is that they are on unique trajectories
    The more we understand those trajectories and how they shape each of their purposes then we can better discern their posts on this forum

    1. I went hiking in the Delaware Water Gap, Appalachian Trail, on the border of NJ and PA. There are areas for “Recreational” and that scene with the water and islands look strikingly familiar

  6. Most excellent observational skills monsieur
    I would not be surprised if that particular unique geologic vista was utilized as the album backdrop.
    Back in the day the area was rich in musical venues to serve the tourists /vacationers of the North east region
    Back in the day artistic merits of album covers or video backgrounds were an intricate part of any musical project.
    I have canoed and bicycled the area and recommend vigorously said activities including hiking and rock climbing as part and parcel of an Eco-Tourism product for St. Lucia
    Rigidly escorted certified tour permits could be granted to select ecologically maintaned trails in some of our forest preserves.
    The area west of Blanchard / Desruisseaux and into the highland preserve is a choice location as it gives access to both the Soufriere Basin / Rain Forest and tourist establishments as well as access to the Vieux-Fort air/sea gateways and surfboarding /parasailing and other marine extreme sports. The cottage industries of local rural folks can supplement this holistic form of tourism- we shall need certified standards.
    Tapping this adventure tourism niche is a potential growth area for the overall St Lucia Tourism product.
    Sunny trails

  7. we have serious issues with his statistic cause he doesn’t know what he’s saying Where will the government finds money to pay all the workers that are employ, retirees, loans, maintain the island infructures, ect ect, what will chastenet do differently that this government is doing and he won’t do

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