In an interview with HTS News Force, the finance minister said the private sector has been “clamouring for some time” to reduce the number of items on the VAT-exempted list of goods.
The prime minister noted that Saint Lucia has the highest number of exempted items in the Eastern Caribbean on its VAT legislation. He wants to reduce this list.
“The private sector has been making demands to reduce that list because they are cannot claim the input VAT on these exempted items. This is a matter we are considering as there are a number of items that ought not to have been on the exempted list,” he said.
Meanwhile, the prime minister pointed out that the focus for the 2014/2015 Budget will be on reducing the deficit and promoting investment.
He said: “There is no question this is a challenging period for the government and indeed for the people of Saint Lucia. I am on record as indicating that I think the worse is over for the private sector but that is not so for the government because we still have a budget deficit to deal with. We have made good progress on reducing the deficit. The year before, the deficit stood at 9.6 percent of (GDP) and we have been able to reduce it to 6.3 percent. We have to continue to reduce it and so, some effort and attention will be paid to reducing the deficit even further. It is clear that in order to reduce the deficit, we must engage in significant expenditure reduction.”
The dates for the 2014/2015 Budget will be announced later this week.