The Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St Vincent and the Grenadines has slammed the government over the recent increase in the Customs service charge. It warns that the cost of living will go up due to this increase.
Speaking during a virtual news conference yesterday, President of the NDP Dr Godwin Friday accused the government of imposing a tax on the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the form of an increase in the customs service charge.
Friday explained that the customs service charge was increased from 5 to 6 per cent. He said this will affect the charges paid on all goods imported into the country.
Friday warns that the price of goods bought in the store will go up, with some reports reaching him that merchants have already begun to adjust prices.
We will pay more for almost everything we use, including foodstuff: e.g. cooking oil, corned beef, chicken and other meats, salt, rice, sugar, macaroni, juices, ketchup, seasonings, detergents, soap, shampoo, school supplies, clothing and shoes, and everything else that we get at the grocery stores and clothing stores.
Hardware goods: lumber, cement, galvanize, bathroom fittings, nails, screws, paint, etc.
Other household goods: pots and pans, cloth, linoleum for your floor, light bulbs, plates, spoons, and heavy appliances such as stoves, fridges and microwave ovens will cost more!
Motor vehicles of all kinds will cost more to import! The bigger the purchase, the more money the government will collect and the more you the consumer/taxpayer will notice the increase.
The NDP president noted that part of the monies collected from this increase by government will be used to the benefit of regional organisations, which the Opposition has no problem with.
However, Friday is questioning why the government must implement this charge now on the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“The people of this country going through hell, great economic pain and great uncertainty brought about by the COVID crisis and mismanagement of the government,” said Friday.
The Opposition leader said the current outbreak of COVID-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines has made people feel insecure and unwilling to engage in the usual social and economic activities.
He said the government should not be imposing a tax on the population now and it shows how out of touch it is with the real situation facing its people.