Basseterre, St. Kitts(WINN)- Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil Douglas wants the government to reduce the 17 percent Value Added Tax(VAT), boost unemployment allowances, and provide rent assistance.
In his New Year’s Address, Dr. Douglas said the Budget passed in parliament last month showed no evidence of any real stimulus programs for the country and the government was about to borrow money to finance its operations.
” And why we must ask, would this government have to borrow, to fund its 2021 operations
1) The Labour Administration turned over to this coalition Government some $1 billion in the Consolidated Fund, just 5 years ago;
2) The government since 2015 has consistently boasted of the tremendous surpluses at its disposal. Which means that there should now be more than enough funds available to dramatically stimulate this economy;
3) The government did not spend enough during the pandemic to explain the current lack of funds;
4) The government has also not announced new plans or initiatives for 2021 to assist those who are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.”
Dr. Douglas also asked: “… if the government has indeed been experiencing surplus budgets over the past 5 years, how does one explain the squandering away of $1 billion of the people’s money – without accounting for it?
The Leader of the Opposition urged the government to convene parliament as soon as possible to pass a new bill to provide assistance to the needy.
He said the suffering across the Federation is real and recommended assistance of EC$1500 per month for those unemployed, rent assistance to those in arrears, a moratorium on evictions, and the reduction of Valued Added Tax from 17 percent to 14 percent.