By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): More than 9,000 people on the payroll of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will receive an increase in salaries, wages, and pensions according to Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris.
The announcement came during the Prime Minister’s Labour Day Address on Monday, May 02, 2022.
“I am pleased to announce that my government has determined that our civil servants, pensioners, and STEP workers will benefit from a significant increase in wages, salaries, and pensions at the rate of ten percent and this shall be retroactive to January 2022.
This is another clear example of our investment in our people as we put more money in the pockets of a large number of our citizens and residents. These resources will translate to increase purchasing power for approximately 4,000 salaried civil servants, 1,064 government auxiliary employees, 1,365 pensioners, and 2,800 STEP workers,” the Prime Minister said.
According to Prime Minister Harris, people on the Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP) are closer to becoming government auxiliary workers which he said would allow them to enjoy greater job security. The regularization process will continue apace over the next few months.
“The Select Committee and the Human Resource Management Department have successfully completed the work necessary to facilitate the integration of the first group of STEP workers into the public service as government auxiliary employees. Over the last two weeks, hundreds of people have received letters offering permanent employment with the government.”
Other measures to cushion the impact on citizens and residents due to the high increase in the cost of living have been implemented by the Federal Government. The excise tax on the importation of fuel was reduced from $2.25 per gallon to 95 cents per gallon and is in effect from April to September 2022. The government also granted an increase in the gas station dealers’ margin by 30 cents, and the fuel subsidy program will be extended for an additional six months.
The income and disability support programs have been extended for an additional three months and will target people who remain unemployed due to job loss from the pandemic, and those whose income have been significantly reduced.
The duty-free allowance usually permitted in December will be reintroduced from May 01 to September 30, 2022. Households will be able to import 500 lbs of food items free of duty and tax. The government will introduce an eight-month cap on the freight cost used in the calculation of duties and taxes that are paid on the importation of goods.
“This cap will help to moderate the rising prices as a result of increased freight cost. Let me take this opportunity to make very clear this government’s firm expectation that all suppliers must pass on the benefit of this concession to consumers who face rising prices.”