Former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Castries North Stephenson King has proposed that there be consultation over the introduction of taxes in order to measure the impact it will have on the disadvantaged.
He has expressed disappointment on the prime minister’s announcement of increased taxes on certain goods for the new financial year.
“For the past three years we have seen the imposition of taxation, whether it is Value added Tax (VAT) or reduction in government subsidy, which took place last year and a further reduction this year … so its continuous installation of further burden on the poor people of this country,” King told media practitioners outside of parliament today.
King said he believes that this government should take a more targeted approach to the situation, so that those who are really in need can benefit.
“You can’t say there will be no new taxes, yet you impose taxes in a very subtle way. My philosophy is there is need for a very comprehensive discussion of the situation and to come out with a package, after much consultation with government, the Opposition and social and economic partners to arrive at consensus,” he added.
According to him, taxes are being imposed in a “piecemeal” fashion and it does not deal with the real issues at hand.
During the presentation of the Budget Estimates, Prime Minister Anthony indicated that 15 percent VAT would be added to imported fish, butter, margarine and beans, not including lentils and pigeon peas, since these items were considered to be most consumed by high income earners.
VAT will also be added to salt because Anthony said it is believed to be a major cause for health problems here.