Kittitians and Nevisians shop, shop, shop, shop, shop on VAT Reduction Day
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 22ND 2011 (CUOPM) – Thousands of Kittitians and Nevisians shopped, shopped, shopped, shopped and shopped – all day Thursday and many business owners said they were pleased with the outcome and hoped it will become an annual event.
Shoppers at Valu Mart
Dubbed “Seven Percent VAT Day,” crowds of shoppers took advantage of the announcement by St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas of fiscal stimulus package that reduced the VAT rate from 17 percent to 7 percent on Thursday 22nd December 2011.
Shoppers taking advantage of the reduction in the VAT also cashed in on the added reduction in the cost price as they filled available parking lots as well as any available space.With hundreds of shoppers converging on the businesses at the same time, this lead to a shortage of shopping carts.
“My shopping was heavy on food items,” said a female shopper who said she filled two carts with items to last her for the Christmas/Carnival season and the first few months of next year.
“It has been extremely busy. It is busier than a normal Friday and Saturday,” said one Basseterre businessman, who said the decision is sound and is a benefit not only to shoppers but business owners.
“I am building my own home so for me it was building materials especially tiles, steel, paint and kitchen and bathroom furnishing and fittings,” said Marcia, who added; “Just tell my Prime Minister thanks and I wish him a merry, merry, Christmas and a blessed New Year.”
“Yes, it has been busy. I have been on my face since morning. I cannot contain myself as persons are just coming to shop, shop, shop, shop, shop, shop, shop,” one businessman told WINNFM’s Toni Frederick.
“Today is a wonderful day to shop,” said a female shopper.
“Absolutely. It has definitely been busy for us today,” another businessman told Frederick, adding that he would like to see another one if it is affordable to the Government.”It is definitely giving the government an incentive to shop today,” he said, adding: It is worth it.” During his weekly radio call-in programme “Ask the Prime Minister” on Tuesday, several callers also telephoned the programme to thank Dr. Douglas for the initiatives.
Prime Minister Douglas said the arrangement was hammered out during discussions on Tuesday and finalized on Wednesday after discussions with his government and officials of the Ministry of Finance and representatives of the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
“We shall remove 10 percent from the VAT on all shopping on that day. All goods including food that are being sold on that day will be sold, not at 17 percent VAT, but at 7 percent,” Prime Minister Douglas told legislators and the nation.
He pointed out that the range of goods includes building materials and appliances, but will not be applied to services.
Shoppers at RAMS
“Wherever we can bring relief we shall. That is the nature of this Labour Government. It is a caring Government. This is a Government that dialogues, that listens and consults and asks for ideas and opinions,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who pointed out that the recent decision to allow up to 400 pounds of food imported in the month of December and a EC$1500 allowance on goods was as a result of listening to the suggestions of the people.
“Now the local businessmen have said they too want a chance to do something and we say go ahead and do something. We will take off 10 percent off the VAT,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
Dr. Douglas said the businesses have already given bargains and it is now for shoppers “to take a careful eye and do their assessment.”
“I would ask our shoppers to be very careful. We want to help the business community and they have to be partners in our development. We cannot do it alone,” said Prime Minister Douglas.
There was no support for the initiatives from the PAM/CCM opposition of the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mark A.G. Brantley, who led a boycott lawmaking body.