Gov’t rolls out Christmas Barrel programme

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By Carlena Knight

The popular Dollar Barrel which has been a staple during the Christmas season for more than a decade, has been implemented.

Cabinet made the decision to reinstate the initiative immediately after the October 29 expiration of the Pandemic Relief Barrel Initiative, which took effect in April soon after Covid-19 impacted the country.

However, with the Christmas Barrel programme coming onstream, residents can continue to receive an exemption in import taxes on items including food, toiletries and clothing for personal use from now until December 31.

The Christmas Barrel initiative allows householders to import clothing, food items and toiletries for personal use in a standard sized shipping barrel or a 17.9 cubic foot e-container, which is equivalent to a standard barrel.

Barrels or e-containers will be free of import duty and will not attract the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST). However, they will be subject to an EC $10 handling fee and the 10 percent Revenue Recovery Charge on the value of the contents.

Items other than food, clothing and toiletries will attract the normal duties and taxes.

The Pandemic Barrel programme was extended a number of times despite the fact that it resulted in the estimated loss of millions of dollars. Finance Minister Gaston Browne was keen for it to continue, given the assistance it has provided to residents throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

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