Government and Chamber discuss VAT, agree to work out concerns

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas (right) and President of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Michael Morton (photo by Erasmus Williams)

ST. KITTS, OCTOBER 28TH 2010 (CUOPM) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce agreed Wednesday afternoon to recognize the importance of working together.

St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas met a CIC team headed by its President, Mr. Michael Morton and reaffirmed that the Value Added TAX (VAT) will be introduced on November 1st 2010.

During the meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Chamber raised several concerns including that the time was short to put in place the necessary hardware and software and issues of small retail businesses including bakeries specifically in the retail sale of pastry.

Prime Minister Douglas gave a commitment that the VAT Team will work with the businesses that are experiencing those problems.

Representatives of the St. Kitts Breweries Limited and the St. Kitts Bottling Company are to meet on Thursday with the VAT Team to resolve outstanding issues including concerns on the Excise Tax Bill passed in the National Assembly on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Douglas pointed out that he did not want the introduction of VAT to be inflationary and the issue of how to treat existing inventory will be discussed on Thursday between officials of the Chamber, Customs Department, the Inland Revenue Department and the Ministry of Finance, to arrive at a formula and the way forward, especially at the introduction and to report back by Friday or Saturday.

Prime Minister Douglas and the Chamber agreed that the introduction of the Value Added Tax was necessary to carry the country forward.

The VAT Unit and the Customs Department confirmed they are ready and there are no problems which could affect the introduction of VAT on November 1st. The meeting was held in an atmosphere of cordiality with the Government and Chamber delegations recognizing the importance of working together.

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