BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 20TH, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — Discounted VAT Rate Day 2016 (December 16th) broke the all-time sales record set by Discounted VAT Rate Day 2015 (December 18th), signaling the increased economic prosperity and consumer confidence being enjoyed in St. Kitts and Nevis under the Team Unity Government.

The first Discounted VAT Rate Day (total sales: $13 million) took place in the Federation on Thursday, December 22nd, 2011, aiming to boost consumer spending. 

From 2012 to 2014, the annual Discounted VAT Rate Promotion was expanded to two consecutive days, generating total sales of $26 million (2012), $37 million (2013) and $40 million (2014), respectively: a total of $103 million over the course of six Discounted VAT Rate Days, garnering average one-day sales of $17.2 million. 

In 2015 and 2016, the annual Discounted VAT Rate Promotion was held for one day, with record sales being achieved year-over-year.  Last year, Prime Minister Harris, who is the Minister of Finance, reported on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 in the National Assembly that preliminary data for Discounted VAT Rate Day 2015 put the sales amount at approximately $41 million.

Today, Friday, January 20th, 2017, Dr. Harris reported on the all-time record set by Discounted VAT Rate Day 2016. 

“On the 16th of December, 2016, the Federation recorded the highest level of sales ever generated for any period of Discounted VAT Rate Day or Days over the six years that such a reduction was offered,” Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated today in the National Assembly. 

Prime Minister Harris also said that, “In 2016, the total sales recorded by businesses participating in the Discounted VAT Rate Day amounted to nearly $41 million, with three outstanding discounted VAT Rate Day sales schedules.  In other words, all the reports are not yet in; three schedules are still outstanding, and at this particular moment in time we can report that 2016 – for one day – has been the best-performing Reduced Vat Day ever on record.” 

Dr. Harris continued: “This superb performance turns into a rosier picture when we factor in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, where we had the onerous 17 percent VAT imposed on food, medicines and educational supplies.  It is public knowledge that we removed VAT in April 2015 from food, medicines and educational supplies.  Notwithstanding that, for 2015, we outdid the best performance hitherto and in 2016 again we outdid ourselves relative to 2015.” 

Apart from the stronger-than-ever Discounted VAT Rate Day sales, there is healthier-than-usual consumer spending happening year-round in the Federation. 

This is evidenced by the wholesale and retail sector growing by 9.13 percent in 2015 under the Team Unity administration compared to the paltry 0.35 percent growth in 2014 under the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour administration. 

The Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mrs. Hilary Hazel, presented those wholesale and retail sector figures at the 2016 National Consultation on the Economy held on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016.  Mrs. Hazel’s PowerPoint presentation last September also showed that the wholesale and retail sector in St. Kitts and Nevis grew by 5.91 percent in 2013, but shrunk by a whopping 10.85 percent in 2012. 

Case in point: Mr. W. Anthony Kelsick, Chairman and Managing Director of S.L. Horsford & Company Limited, wrote in his Chairman’s Report for 2012 that, “The results for 2012 have been very disappointing as the economies of St. Kitts and Nevis continued their decline, which has resulted in the Group recording a significant further decline in their profitability.”  S.L. Horsford and Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary companies (“the Group”) had negative retained profits in 2012. 

Mr. W. Anthony Kelsick continued in his 2012 Chairman’s Report: “The economy, already in decline for the past 5 years, continued its decline even further in 2012.  The result of this, along with the effects of VAT and increased electricity costs, caused further contraction on the ability of the residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to spend.”  

The dismal performance of the local economy in 2012 stands in stark contrast to the bumper year of 2015 when S.L. Horsford & Co. Ltd. saw the highest sales reported in the history of the company as of September 30th, 2015.  S.L. Horsford and Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary companies also performed better in 2015 than they did between 2011 and 2014, as reflected in income before tax, profits retained, shareholders’ equity, dividends paid, and total assets. 


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