The Grenada govern-ment Wednesday said that it will begin its annual duty-free barrel programme, through which nationals are allowed to import goods without paying the various taxes, from November 1.
The Tillman Thomas-led government said that the programme, which is now in its fifth year, will end on December 31 and as in previous years, "each household in Grenada has the opportunity to bring in a maximum of two barrels, including boxes, crates and cartons ... containing foodstuff, clothing, toiletries and toys, without having to pay customs duties and taxes, customs service charge and stamp duty".
Finance Minister Nazim Burke said the programme is a "Christmas gift" to Grenada.
"As we have said in the past, the intention of the programme is to ease the burden on all households, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Notwithstanding the adverse impact of this initiative on government's revenue, the government feels this programme is still necessary at this time, given the relatively high cost of food and slow economic recovery".
The government said that based on Customs data for the past four years, over 9,000 households have benefited from the programme annually. It said it anticipates a loss of approximately one million EC dollars (One EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) in revenue during the two-month period of the programme.
The government has outlined a number of measures to ensure the success of the programme, noting that appliances and electronics would not be allowed duty-free into the country.
"Customs reserves the right to examine each barrel and determine if it is for household or commercial use," the statement said, noting that while the various taxes would be waived, "recipients of barrels will be required to pay charges assessed by private warehouses and the Grenada Ports Authority".