BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 17, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic expected to spill over into the year, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has taken the proactive decision to extend nine of the 17 measures outlined in its comprehensive $120-million stimulus package introduced in March of this year.
This was one of the major initiatives outlined by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, when he presented the tax-free 2021 Budget on Tuesday, December 15.
Thenine stimulus interventions that were extended are:
- Theremoval of VAT and Import Duty until June 2021 on the additional hygiene items such as hand sanitizers, hand sanitizer dispensing machines, disinfecting wipes, rubbing alcohol, gloves, masks, protective gowns;
- Theremoval of Import Duty and Customs Service Charge until June 2021 on vegetables, fruits, fruit juices, cough and cold preparations, vitamins;
- Waiverof payments for consumption of water until June 2021 for individuals who have been laid off by businesses or experience a reduction in earnings as a consequence of COVID-19;
- 24percent reduction of the Corporate Income Tax rate from 33 percent to 25 percent until June 2021 for businesses that retain at least 75 percent of their employees;
- Reductionof the Unincorporated Business Tax rate by 50 percent from 4.0 percent to 2.0 percent for until June 2021;
- Injectionof an additional $5 million stimulus over two years to boost production in the Agriculture Sector and ensure greater food security for the Federation;
- Waiverof payments for the consumption of water by farmers until June 2021;
- Provisionof an additional $3 million above the amount provided in the 2020 Estimates to support the Poverty Alleviation Programme, which would allow for the additional of some 500 persons should their socio-economic situation warrant it;
- Provisionof additional resources in the region of $7 million to further capitalize the Severance Payment Fund in 2021 and facilitate the payment of severance claims.
Inmaking the announcement, Prime Minister Harris stated that, “We believe, Mr. Speaker, that the extension of these measures would help to advance the recovery process and, most importantly it would extend important lifelines to affected families and businesses.”
Theextension of these measures have been welcomed by the St. Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry and Commerce, with its President Mrs. Giselle Matthews stating that these will help to regenerate the Federation’s economy.