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NDP not satisfied SVG ready for VAT

NDP not satisfied SVG ready for VAT

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Head of the Value Added Tax (VAT) Unit Alma Dougan is satisfied that everything is going according to plan for the implementation of the VAT. In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Dougan said that training, public awareness campaigns, literature and registration are on-going, and that things should be in place for the due date.

However, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace is not satisfied that the administration is in place for the effective introduction of the VAT here on May 1st. Neither is he convinced that sufficient effort has been made by this country’s government to ease the pressure on the poorer class with the introduction of VAT.{{more}}

Speaking at the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) first press conference for 2007 which took place at Democrat House on Tuesday, Eustace said that although VAT does not discriminate between the rich or poorer classes, more attention should have been paid to the items that are used more by Vincentians with a lower income and not charge VAT on those items.

The Opposition Leader also declared that the categories of items that are VAT free are too small, and that the opposition had recommended at least sixty more items that should have been added to the list. He stated that in some countries all basic food items are not charged VAT.

One item that Eustace said was added to the VAT free list because of opposition pressure was water. The opposition had also hoped to get electricity on the list, but instead, VAT will be charged on electricity usage over 200 kilowatts hours instead of the original 50 kilowatts hours that was suggested by government.

The NDP had originally voted against the introduction of VAT when it was presented in parliament.

VAT is estimated to bring the government $82 million in the first eight months of its implementation.

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