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The St Kitts-Nevis Government will remove taxes on food, medicine and funeral expenses effective April 7.
According to a release from the country’s information service, Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris made the announcement last night in a national address.
“I understand that for many of you, the Government of national unity means economic relief… Team Unity promised relief from the burdensome taxes and the high cost of living,” Dr Harris said.
Referring to the Value Added Tax (VAT) introduced on November 1, 2010, by the former administration, he said “the people of St Kitts and Nevis suffered badly from the imposition of the highest introductory rate of VAT in the Caribbean, at 17 per cent”.
The Prime Minister explained that “many were hardly able to buy their food. Small- and medium-sized businesses had to close as their cost of doing business was too high. Single mothers had it hard to make ends meet. Poverty was exacerbated”.
In announcing the new tax (relief) measure, the release said Dr Harris reiterated his administration’s commitment to fighting poverty, narrowing the inequality gap, stimulating economic activity, and increasing employment opportunities, by putting more money into people’s pockets.
The Prime Minister told the nation that “low taxes are good for economic growth. Therefore, effective April 7, 2015, VAT on all food in St Kitts and Nevis will end…We will deliver on our commitment to relieve our people of the burden of VAT on essential items like medicines and funeral expenses. These will take effect also from April 7, 2015. Our priority will always be to ensure prosperity for all.”