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Antigua government reduced sales tax for Christmas

Published:Saturday | December 27, 2014 | 11:30 PM
File Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (right), listens attentively to Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne at a reception he hosted for CARICOM Heads of Government in his country earlier this year.

The Antigua and Barbuda government said last week it would reduce the sales tax (ABST) as citizens gear to celebrate the annual Christmas Season.

The government of Prime Minister Gaston Browne said that the tax will be reduced from 15 to five per cent and applicable to specific items in stores and supermarkets. However, the discount will not apply to services.

The ABST reduction takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday the government said, reminding businesses that only ABST Registered Tax Payers can charge the sales tax.

"It is hoped that with the reduction shoppers will take advantage of the deals and discounts," Browne said.

The announcement of the reduction in the tax comes as Browne is predicting that his six month old administration's programmes and policies to rebuild the economy will result in the country surpassing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) 2015 projected growth of 1.7 per cent.

Last week, the IMF said that real gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 1.9 per cent in 2014 and 1.7 per cent in 2015, underpinned by the ongoing recovery in North America and the United Kingdom. It also commended the government for addressing the fiscal imbalances it inherited when it defeated the United Progressive Party six months ago.

"Based on the IMF review, we didn't do badly at all. I am confident that we will outperform the 1.7 per cent projected for next year. Our performance during the second half of the year was one of the strongest for the last five years," Browne said.