Prime Minister of St Kitts-Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris, on Tuesday laid the Draft Estimates for the coming year before the National Assembly as part of the final stage of the annual budgetary process.
TheDraft Estimates allow for the financing of the activities of the State that will bring benefits to the people of St Kitts-Nevis.
Thiswas followed by the tabling of The Appropriation (2021) Bill, 2020, in which the Team Unity Government is seeking Parliamentary approval for a total of EC$867,919,842 for the provision of services for the financial year commencing January, 1, 2021 and ending on December 31, 2021.
“We have done all these things and more without adding one new tax. Indeed, far from new taxes we have been subtracting, reducing and removing extant taxes.”– Prime Minister of St Kitts-Nevis, Dr Timothy Harris
Total recurrent, capital and net lending charges against the Consolidated Fund come to $770,136,053 and the total provided by law is $97,783,789.
Inhis presentation, delivered under the theme “Fortitude During the Pandemic: Resilience, Recovery and Transformation,” Harris said his administration has been careful over the last five years not to impose any new taxes on the people of the Federation.
“This is a remarkable feat. For five years in a row, my Government would have managed this country, fulfilling our mandates and increasing the range of support to the social sectors including education, health, national security, the poor and indigent, our women headed households, and at-risk groups. We have done all these things and more without adding one new tax. Indeed, far from new taxes we have been subtracting, reducing and removing extant taxes. For example, we removed the onerous VAT from food, medicine and educational supplies in 2015…and in the 2021 Budget we have extended the reduction on the applicable rate of corporate income tax and unincorporated tax, reducing them by a significant 24 per cent and 50 per cent respectively,” Harris said.
He continued, “At a time when we could reasonably be asking for shared sacrifices for the greater collective national good by imposing new taxes as some countries have done, my Government prefers to waive them or waive some of them, apply moratoria and reduce others all to help our people and registered businesses successfully overcome the challenges of COVID-19.”
The budget debate continues today.