St. Kitts & Nevis (WINN): Mr. Scott Caines, Managing Director of C&C Trading Limited, who was previously silent on the management of the country’s financial affairs, felt duty-bound to express his concerns recently. He was speaking at the Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s pre-Christmas luncheon on Wednesday. “During these few months I stayed away from debating anything outside of the facts that had to do with the Value Added Tax. But during this last two or three days I think my mind has somewhat changed and that was because….we had a budget being presented,” said businessman Scott Caines, Managing Director of C & C Trading Limited. He said that the VAT regulations are still not available yet the business community is suddenly burdened with new taxes as outlined in the budget to come on stream next month.
Scott Caines said that he sometimes felt ashamed and hurt that he did not weigh in and become more engaged with the public debate and discussions concerning the fiscal affairs of the Federation. He thought his comments would have been construed as political. Mr. Caines said he understand the need to harmonize the tax legislation with the rest of the OECS as well as broadening the tax base. However, he is deeply concerned with the way in which the economy was managed.
Mr. Caines headed the Chamber’s VAT response team. He said that the Private Sector Umbrella organization had three main areas of concerns with the implementation of VAT: the impact on the cost of living, the timing of the tax’s introduction and the implications for the economy. He said while there were areas that balanced out in terms of the final cost to consumers due to the rebate system that government instituted to avoid double taxation, there were some items that did not have consumption tax previously that attracted the VAT. “Regarding the timing, this has proven to be a real challenge because presently, when most businesses should be trying to see how we can capture whatever dollar in sales, we are trying to see how we can comply with the VAT at this time of the year,” Mr. Caines said.