Imposition of VAT on salt and removal of subsidy on sugar are insufficient – LPM

Imposition of VAT on salt and removal of subsidy on sugar are insufficient – LPM

PRESS RELEASE – In reacting to the government’s decision to impose a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT) on sodium and to remove the existing subsidy on sugar, the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) opines that it is not at all opposed to these measures as deterrents to the overconsumption of these products.

However, the LPM also wished that the government had the courage to approve new legislation that would effectively double the VAT on the importation and sale of alcoholic beverages and cigarettes in Saint Lucia. The LPM argues that the consumption of alcohol and cigarettes has not only reduced the life expectancy of most Saint Lucians but has also become one of the leading factors which have transformed the island into a major partying hub which lacks the focus or ability to respond effectively to economic challenges.

Moreover, with very little attention paid to underage drinking in Saint Lucia, the future cost of healthcare and juvenile delinquency could reach levels that have never been seen in the history of the country.

Notwithstanding the government’s decision to omit alcohol and cigarettes from its list of priorities for stiffer VAT rates, the LPM fully acknowledges that a reduction in sodium intake is likely to lower the number of Saint Lucians who suffer from strokes, acute myocardial infarctions, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases. However, the party remains unconvinced that these measures alone, in the absence of a national campaign aimed at educating Saint Lucians on the importance of making healthy lifestyle changes, will amount to much.

While the mere imposition of VAT on sodium and the removal of the subsidy on sugar will increase government revenue in the medium term, it will have a minimal effect on the government’s long-term desire to reduce its public expenditure on healthcare for fellow Saint Lucians who have developed diseases and other serious illnesses as a direct result of overconsumption of these products.

A more effective strategy, says the LPM, would have been for the government to go beyond the simple imposition of VAT on only two products that contribute to poor health. Rather, it should have sought to expand the list and embrace a serious national agenda or campaign to raise public awareness regarding the consequences of the overconsumption of these products.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party government should have also considered offering a tax relief for food companies which make it a priority to import sugar-free beverages as well as processed food and dairy products with reduced sodium content.

In addition, the LPM concludes that placing a ban on indoor smoking and urging all restaurants and other food handlers throughout the island to adhere to a voluntary policy of reducing the amount of sodium and sugar that is used in the preparation of local dishes and drinks could have gone a long way towards preserving the health of the people of Saint Lucia.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Rat Race, have you ever had a look at the labels on food/drink items? Maybe you're familiar with the term Suggested Serving? The point is even if you purchased an item with reduced salt or sugar or fat content for argument's sake, the onus is on you to regulate the quantity which is ingested. Our bodies require an adequate amount of each of these products to function effectively. Additionally, sugar for instance is found in various forms including starches and carbohydrates which again are key components in a plethora of foods consumed. Remember everything in moderation...

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  2. Idiots... sugar and salt are not unhealthy on its own. The problem only arose because we are broke because of the incompetency of politicians and we need to tax or blame something. The key to healhty living has always been moderation and exercise. If you over endulge in anything you will be afficted with something. So if we have a reduction in sale of sugar and salt wouldn't that spell ruin for a lot of our shops thereby contracting the economy? The case about the poor is that they they don't have money anyway so how would survive? Do the poor make sugar and salt sandwiches for breakfast? You people get so twisted that you do not even realise that you are being led astray. People use your brains and don't let politicians confuse you at what you already know. Sugar and salt are merely ingredients in many products that we make. With a spike in the increase of products such as bread we would soon be complaining abot inflation generally. Lucian be more wise!!

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  3. Call the damn thing by its name...SALT.
    Salt is not sodium. Salt is Sodium Chloride. Sodium is an element.
    LPM, if you want to be taken seriously and if want your press releases to be understood by the majority of the public, keep them simple and to the point.

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  4. We should not oppose just for the sake of it . The man suggested to give businesses a vat break for importing or selling goods with a lower or controlled use of sugar or salt, which are available in the markets. Meant for Yaad Chick.

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  5. The problem with the LPM is that these fellows too do not understand the fundamentals of Public Finance anymore than Bram Bram. Like the PM down to the executioners of the consumption tax they call a VAT, the implemented VAT is in name only. Even the LPM sees it as just another consumption tax. Saint Lucia they say is idiot country. The confused administrations have established a confounded set of taxes called a VAT. It is just a confused hodge-podge array of tax rates. Little wonder we can not see our way through all this confusion.

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    • If St Lucia is an idiot country why bother commenting on things St Lucian. I bet you are one of those living from pay cheque to cheque. Since you understand finance so much explain to us idiots why you so broke.

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  6. Wouldn't this adversely affect the pricing and production of locally made products for example breads, sauces, rums, bottled juices, ice cream, jams, seasonings.

    How will the local food vendors, restaurants, hotels etc. and their consumers afford the additional expense charged to their meals and grocery bills?

    With the increase in the price of sugar will be be seeing renewed interest in small scale cane sugar production or alternative cane sugar substitutes?

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    • I believe the LPM has it down packed. They are asking the government to consider offerin a tax break to importers of reduce salt products etc. This could be a way to start to ease the cost of purchasing imported good. This is just my 2 cents. I am no economist.

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  7. I agree. a pound of sugar should be $5.00. Also alcohol should double.At least we starting somewhere.Plant more fruits and vegetables and make it cheaper.

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  8. Now that's what I'm talking about! Anyway, the current crop of politicians are too overweight to comprehend any of this...both King and Kenny look like they swallowed a little person.

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  9. I really don't understand the rationale for commentary on whether the imposition of VAT and the removal of the subsidy on salt and sugar respectively is either a pro or con relative to health issues. Aren't those two items the main ingredients in the majority of food or drink consumed on a daily basis that are not prepared by consumers but rather purchased from commercial establishments? Are we really postulating that this decision by the prime-minister will reduce the number of cases of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes? This is an absurd assumption as this position only takes into account food and drink produced at home by individuals where they control the amount of salt or sugar added. I think a holistic approach to the issue is more reasonable as a high percentage of food and drink consumed do not originate from our kitchens and consequently we are unable to control the salt or sugar content. What we can however control is the quantity of and frequency with which these products are consumed. The underlying factor in a democratic society will as always, be one of individual food/drink choices.

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