UPP Leader suggests government reviews concessions amid proposed ABST increase

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Amid the announcement of the proposed 2 percent increase in the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) last week, Jamale Pringle, political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) has called on the government to shift their approach.

Speaking on Connecting with Dave Lester Payne yesterday, he recommended that concessions given to investors should be reviewed instead of increasing ABST.

“We need to call people back to the negotiation table, especially persons who would’ve gotten these concessions but have not performed,” the political leader stated.

Specifically, he referenced the sum of money that the Peace, Love and Happiness project in Barbuda would’ve been paying into the Treasury if concessions had not been granted to the investor.

“[The Prime Minister] said PLH generated about $1.6 billion in sales…and just look at what PLH alone should’ve paid to the government, that would’ve generated $120 million,” Pringle said.

“When we look at the UBT [Unincorporated Business tax], the Corporate Income tax, and PIT [Personal Income Tax], all these put together still don’t add up to $120 million; they are in the border of 100 and something million,” he added.

The political leader maintained that he will not support any increase in the ABST.

“I cannot go into Parliament to support no increase on the people of this country without doing all that we possibly can to address the amount of concessions we gave out,” Pringle stated.

Currently, ABST is added to many everyday goods and services purchased by consumers at a rate of 15 percent.

Tangible and non-tangible items that are exempted from the tax include drugs and medicines sold in pharmacies and educational services, according to https://forms.gov.ag.

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