Saint Lucia
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New Date Announced for Rollout of Health and Security Levy

Prime Minister Philip J Pierre
Prime Minister Philip J Pierre

PRIME Minister Philip J Pierre has decided to delay the commencement date of government’s newly proposed health and security levy which is expected to generate at least XCD 33 million annually.

Pierre made the announcement earlier this week.

According to Pierre, this was done to ensure a seamless rollout and to prepare the public, consumers and the private sector for its implementation and to ensure that they are adequately informed.

“Because of consultation and the need to discuss with stakeholders and people involved, we have pushed that date to the 2nd of August. I want to reiterate… that there are no increased taxes on food products or medical products,” Pierre said, noting that the health and security levy “will be on the same goods for which we have the Value Added Tax.”

Pierre crafted the health and security levy to help government generate new revenue to fund law enforcement and public health care projects for a reinforced national security apparatus.

Also, to “expand access to health care services at lower costs to Saint Lucian citizens.”

Earlier this year, Pierre urged “the private sector to work with the government to ensure that this measure is not used as a basis for increasing the price of food.”

The prime minister indicated that as freight prices decrease food items and “other imported items prices will also decrease.”

The new levy will cater for the application of taxes on selected goods, with the exception of such as, medicine, selected building materials, and medical and security equipment.

Though the levy has similarities to the Value Added Tax (VAT), currently applicable with a 12.5% on goods and services, the revenue to be generated from the new levy will be used specifically to finance the health and security needs of the country.

The new levy will provide for the suspension of VAT on selected building materials for a two-year period, in an effort to stimulate activity in the housing and construction sector.

Consequently, PM Pierre explained, the retail prices on items such as plywood, lumber, steel, cement and galvanize “should be reduced by 12.5%, unless the imported price of these goods increase.”

To ensure compliance with the new levy and VAT removal on building materials, government plans to implement a price monitoring exercise.

Saint Lucia’s legislators will further elucidate on the health and security levy during a scheduled parliament sitting.