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St.Kitts-Nevis Government addressing complaints about high food prices despite VAT removal

Minister of Consumer Affairs Hon. Lindsay Grant
Minister of Consumer Affairs Hon. Lindsay Grant

Minister of Consumer Affairs Hon. Lindsay Grant

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 17, 2015 (SKNIS)—The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is planning to implement legislation to address price gouging as it relates to the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on food.

Minister of Consumer Affairs, the Honourable Lindsay Grant while speaking recently (October 14) on “Working For You,” the weekly radio program of the Team Unity Government, said that the team at the Consumer Affairs Department investigated the complaints of customers that some business establishments were increasing the prices of food even after the Government removed the 17% VAT on all food items in April of this year. That investigation found that all the complaints were not completely accurate, but there were some instances of increased prices.

“We have heard the cries of the people and we have responded to the cries of the people,” Mr. Grant said. “Because we got so many complaints we responded to that….we sent out persons from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs to go to every single supermarket in the country and to do an analysis on the goods that they sold to determine, if at all, what we were hearing from consumers was indeed correct.”

“It was not entirely correct in terms of all the goods being sold but we found that several items increased in terms of the price and so the team has been out there addressing that with the various supermarkets and we intend to introduce a legislative initiative that will once and for all put that to bed,” Minister Grant said.

The Team Unity Government had promised, among other initiatives, to reduce the price of food in St. Kitts and Nevis by removing the 17% VAT from all food items in a bid to improve the standard of living. The VAT was removed from food, school supplies, medicines and funeral expenses effective April 1st 2015.

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