Government has dismissed reports that school books and education services, as well as insurance premiums and premiums provided by minibus drivers have been stung by the recently enacted Valued Added Tax (VAT).
“As is clearly defined in the Value Added Tax Act (2012), education services means tuition or instruction for students provided by an institution duly recognized by the Ministry of Education pursuant to the Education Act, Cap 18.01, whether public, private, assisted or denominational, while education supplies means a supply of printed material as defined under the Customs Tariff Heading 49.01-49.05,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Government said it is responding to claims made during Tuesday’s House of Assembly sitting by Opposition member Guy Joseph that VAT had been levied on school books, and raising concerns about the effect of such a decision on the quality of education under the tax regime.
Government said Joseph’s statements were an “effort to paint a picture of an insensitive and uncaring government” and called on Joseph, who is the parliamentary rep. for Castries South East, and his Opposition, “to refrain from spreading untruths about the VAT and its perceived impact on goods and services”.
The government added: “The statement by Hon. Guy Joseph followed earlier statements by him at a public meeting of the United Workers Party that there was VAT on insurance premiums and on services provided by minibus drivers. Both statements were equally false. The government of St. Lucia urges the Opposition to be more responsible in the dissemination of information to the public. It is part of their duty as leaders to educate and to respect the truth even when it is tempting to do otherwise. It is the duty of Hon. Guy Joseph and indeed every parliamentarian not to mislead the nation on the effect of laws enacted by the parliament of St. Lucia.”