There will be a one percent (1%) increase on the Customs Service Charge this year (2021), with the revenue generated expected to assist in the financing of regional organizations such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
This moves the tariff from 5% to 6%.
“While we have been cautious not to impose tax measures at this time, and, indeed postponed many of the fees and measures passed in last year’s budget, it is precisely the nature of the times and challenges that demand our decisive response today,” Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Finance said in the 2021 Budget address.
He explained that the challenges that St Vincent and the Grenadines presently faced have highlighted the role played by these regional organizations.
“Our responses to the pandemic to date would have been impossible without the support and technical experience of the Caribbean Public Health Agency, the Pan-American Health Organization and the Regional Security Service (RSS),” Gonsalves said.
The situation was similar with those regional entities that were engaged in the monitoring and analysis of date as it relates to activities at the volcano, La Soufriere.
The organizations involved in that process included the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, Caribbean Meteorological Services and The UWI, Seismic Research Centre.
“These agencies, and more, constitute an extension of the local functions of our government…,” the Finance Minister said.
It was unfortunate that the functioning of these organizations was hampered by irregular and insufficient funding, Gonsalves posited.
According to the Finance Minister, governments were among those in the region that have been guilty at one time or the other, of racking up arrears to these organizations.
And it was in light of that reality, that government had taken the decision to pass legislation that will guarantee automaticity of financing to some of these regional entities, Gonsalves assured.