Slight increase in Christmas barrels

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There was a slight increase in the number of people accessing the annual Christmas Barrel Initiative in 2017, when compared to 2016. Raju Boddu, comptroller of Customs, said 3,158 barrels were cleared between December 1, 2017, and January 6, 2018, and the value was about $148,604.20.
This is 10 more than the previous year when 3,148 barrels were cleared. The barrel initiative was first introduced by the United Progressive Party (UPP) and continued by the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) after it attained office in 2014.
Boddu said officials at the Customs and Excise Division had to work overtime, including weekends, to clear the barrels, which arrived during the specified period. He, however, revealed that a lot of barrels were delayed because of weather conditions. He also said that there was an increase in barrels sent to the country as relief in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria, just prior to the specified period of the Christmas barrel programme.
The Christmas barrels are exempted from import duty and the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST). However, they were subjected to the 10 percent Revenue Recovery Charge on the value of the contents, and an administrative charge of $10. Importers paid regular duties and taxes on items other than food, clothing and toiletries.
In order for consumers to qualify for the Christmas Barrel Initiative, imported barrels have to arrive on the island within the time period outlined. In years gone by, people who missed the January deadline to clear their barrels would have received the concessions under the programme, but were required to pay “normal duties and

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