Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel has responded to the United Workers Party’s call for confirmation as to whether a proposed refund of Value Added Tax (VAT) to individuals who imported barrels under the concessionary period has been made.
The concessionary period which ran from December 1, 2013 to February 15, 2014, allowed persons to import barrels without having to pay VAT.
But in what was described as an “error”, some individuals who imported the barrels during the concessionary period were charged VAT. Consequently, the prime minister had promised a refund.
The UWP, in a press release, said it has not seen any information on the press secretary’s Facebook page, nor any of the social media outlets, which are managed by the press secretary to prove her claim that the country was informed that a refund was to be made.
But Jn Pierre-Emmanuel, speaking to HLN News, accused UWP’s Member of Parliament Guy Joseph of using the issue as a political ploy.
“Guy Joseph always awaits an opportunity to grand stand and to use the plight of the people as a political tool, and this is wrong because when he received the information from the individual that suggested that they were charged what he should have done was to call the minister for finance … and indicate that a constituent had said that we have an issue and that we are being charged a tax that we should not be charged. From then, the prime minister of course, would have taken the same action that he took during the house of assembly meeting. He would have called the comptroller of customs and asked why is that people are being charged when they should not have been charged And what would have happened is that the corrective action would have happened back then,” Jn. Pierre-Emmanuel stated.
She said that the prime minister took swift action as soon as he had found out about the error.
“When the prime minister called the customs department and realized that they were doing using the old SI which is what officially went to the House of Assembly, he indicated this is incorrect. The House agreed that it should be February 15. He also said to the comptroller of customs who he spoke to at the time…[that] the individuals who were charged for the taxes should be refunded because there is the authorisation … that is they should not pay the taxes,” she said.
The press secretary said that these matters were dealt with on February 12.