In doing so, the Government will fulfill undertakings given to international institutions by the former Government that VAT would be introduced during this financial year.
On page 13 of Our Blue Print for Growth, the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s Manifesto for the 2011 General Elections, the Labour Party had also indicated that Saint Lucia had no choice but to introduce VAT. However, consistent with its manifesto promises the Government will
1. Maintain a basket of goods that will be zero rated, meaning that no VAT would be imposed on these goods; and
2. Delay the introduction of VAT on the payment of bills for electricity and water 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.
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 expects to complete consultations with key stakeholders in the weeks ahead.
Saint Lucia remains the only country in the Eastern Caribbean which has not introduced the VAT.
Further details on the implementation of the VAT will be announced in this year’s Budget Address.
—-PM’s Press Secretary