Former United Workers Party (UWP) Chairman Michael Flood said he is pleased with the manner in which Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is going about dealing with the implementation of the ‘Five to Stay Alive’ plan.
Flood told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Wednesday:”Just imagine if he were to go about and unilaterally do something, you would find the naysayers finding issues with it. By having consultations, I believe it is a step in the right direction,” he remarked.
However, Flood said while he believes that the prime minister means well, he is not sure whether his government will be able to deliver the ‘Five to Stay Alive’ in the time frame that they have set themselves.
“I think as a nation we need to give the government a little time, to see what comes out of it,” he added.
One of the important issues Flood said he would like to see come to fruition is the reduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT).
He recalled that during the previous UWP government, the implementation of VAT was discussed at lengths during 2006 but the intention was to have it less than the current 15 percent.
“Of course we have seen the devastation of VAT on the poor people of this country since the 15 percent was implemented…I believe if the 15 percent is reduced by whatever figure, it will go a long way in assisting the poor people of this country.”
Flood told SNO that as a small businessman himself, VAT has taken a toll on his business.
“Even the tax threshold is something else the government needs to look at because it is really squeezing people who are paying taxes in so many other areas,” he remarked.
Government recently said it is sticking with the ‘Five to Stay Alive’ plan and has already declared that it is in discussions with major financial institutions to look at how it can reduce VAT.
At the next siting of Parliament scheduled for Tuesday, August 16, 2016 two bills which reflect the fulfillment of two other key election promises to the nation will be tabled.
One of the bills to be presented before the Parliament will address the much anticipated fifty (50) percent reduction in vehicle license fees,while the other bill concerns the implementation of an amnesty period for the benefit of persons who have accumulated unpaid medical fees with the national hospitals.