KINGSTOWN, SVG (BreadFruit News) – The New Democratic Party touted its pro-business credentials during another Virtual Public Meeting last Thursday evening.
Political leader Dr Hon Godwin Friday is adamant that his party will help businesses to thrive and to create opportunities for growth and employment in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The red tape that now ties up businesses will be cut and reduced or removed entirely. And one of the first places we would start is at the ports, to make sense of the processes and the procedures there and to make sense of the charges and the fines and the taxes…and where they make no sense, or they are too slow, we will improve them or remove them.”
Dr Friday also said:
“My NDP government will review all the duties and the port procedures with the view to removing taxes and costly delays on the productive sectors of our economy. Many businesses are not able to update, to import, to stay up to date with the new technologies, to buy new equipment due to the huge burden of some of the duties and the sometimes inexplicable delays that they find at the port.”
The NDP which has lost four (4) consecutive general elections is seeking to unseat the governing Unity Labour Party (ULP) government.
The party says it practices a different philosophy from the current administration. Dr Friday believes the role of government is to support local businesses to create jobs rather than be in a competition with them.
“Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and therefore are the backbone of our nation. And only with a healthy private sector can we reduce the unemployment and improve living standards for our people.”
“We want to be leaders in economic development, growth, wages and jobs in the OECS, not the last, the one always lagging behind which is where we are now. Why must we always lag behind? This is not our lot in life. It is a result of poor governance. That is what it is. It is not the lot of all Vincentians for us to be behind the OECS.”
He said that he has been consulting businesses and will consult more to hear their experiences and pledged to work with them to make their businesses succeed. One of the immediate actions of a NDP government will be to reduce the VAT rate from 16% to 13%.
“that puts money in the pockets of ordinary poor people immediately on taking government because VAT, it hurts poor people more. It’s a regressive tax. You have to eat, it takes a larger proportion of your income so any reduction in that helps people to manage.”