Roseau, Dominica – July 15, 2008….. In response to rising food prices globally, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit used his 2008/2009 Budget Address last Thursday to announce a list of fifty-two(52)household items for which tariffs will be eliminated effective 1st August, 2008.
The list includes frozen chicken, chicken liver, chicken backs and neck, mackerel, herring, meat of bovine animals, dried fish, oats, red beans, pink beans, condensed milk, , canned tuna, canned sardines, olive oil, corn oil, lentils, salted fish, butter, turkey, laundry detergent, sugar, margarine and spread, apple juice, cheddar cheese among many other frequently bought household items.
It is expected that this measure will result in a loss to the Treasury of $2.5 million or 0.24% of GDP.
In addition, Government has decided to set the customs service charge on petroleum products to zero percent. Government has also taken a decision to remove the excise tax on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) imported into Dominica, resulting in a revenue loss of some $1 million.
The Prime Minister also announced that in a further effort to reduce the cost of imported goods, Government has decided to increase the number of days that imported cargo can remain on the port before storage charges are applied. The number of days will be increased from 3 to 5 days, following amendments to the Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority Act.
In recent months the Government has sought to explain to the population that the rising cost of food locally has little to do with the Valued Added Tax (VAT) or other domestic taxes and more to do with imported inflation triggered by the escalating cost of fuel.
“Madam Speaker, it must be noted that taxes that are not applied on many basic food items. For example, there is no import duty, no VAT and no excise tax on milk; yet this is one of the products for which prices have increased significantly. Similarly, there is no VAT on rice, flour and sugar and no import duty when these items are imported from CARICOM,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.