Opposition Leader Pleads With Gov’t Ahead of Budget Debate.
LEADER of the Opposition, Dr. Gale Rigobert is calling on Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony to deliver the policy correctives that would steer the economy back to a level of buoyancy, when he makes his budget get statement to the House of Assembly later today.
“The onus is on the Prime Minister to provide the policy correctives to problems regarding unemployment which is hovering around 25 percent and the closure of small businesses, among other things,” Rigobert said.
The Micoud North parliamentary representative also referred to foreign investment landscape in light of the Lambirds Academy affair and the impact this may have on the country’s ability to attract foreign investors.
In suggesting that the government provides some relief to Saint Lucians this fiscal year Rigobert referred to the 15 percent VAT that she says is causing a problem to the economic health of the people, a tax she said that was instituted at the wrong time since the economy then was in a tailspin.
She spoke of a proposed fuel surcharge on electricity and the taxing of vehicle licensing which she says would cause further hardship on the people.
“There is a proposed fuel surcharge on LUCELEC and as I understand it, I don’t have the finer details as yet, but we know that any time any agency, or organization is taxed that they really pass it on to the consumer. So the inevitable outcome of the increase in the fuel surcharge could very well mean that electricity charges could go up, except LUCELEC decides to absorb that difference. Similarly with motor vehicle license fees, some of them are said to be increased by 100 percent,” Rigobert said.