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CASTRIES, St.Lucia --The Government of St Lucia will introduce the Value Added Tax, commonly known as VAT, on September 01, 2012, according to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.
Anthony, who previously opposed the introduction of the tax while he was in Opposition, told a news conference Thursday, the move seeks to fulfill undertakings given to international institutions by the former Government that VAT would be introduced during this financial year.
“In our Blue Print for Growth, the St Lucia Labour Party’s Manifesto for the 2011 General Elections, the Labour Party had also indicated that St Lucia had no choice but to introduce VAT.
“However, consistent with its manifesto promises the Government will maintain a basket of goods that will be zero rated, meaning that no VAT would be imposed on these goods,” he said.
The St. Lucia leader also revealed that the government will delay the introduction of VAT on the payment of electricity and water bills until the Government is satisfied that the public is reasonably protected from arbitrary increases by the companies that provide these services.
The VAT Implementation Unit is currently finalizing arrangements for the introduction of VAT.
Anthony said that while a considerable amount of work has been undertaken by the VAT Implementation Unit in engaging various stakeholders in consultations and educating the general public on the characteristics of a VAT, the work of the Unit will intensify in the coming weeks with a view to ensuring that the business community and the public in general are provided with all relevant information and are adequately prepared for the change in the tax regime.
The Government he said expects to complete consultations with key stakeholders in the weeks ahead.
St Lucia remains the only country in the Eastern Caribbean which has not introduced the VAT.
Anthony said that further details on the implementation of the VAT will be announced in this year’s Budget Address to be presented in mid-April.