An increase in maritime fees, the re-introduction of the pre-COVID-19 airport service charge, and a bump in fees across areas of health care services, and sectors of agriculture are among the Revenue generation measures that were announced by Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves as he presented the 2023 Budget in Parliament on Monday, January 9.
The Budget, amounting to EC$1.45 billion also provides for the reduction in personal income tax and company tax.
Some of the new maritime rates will see the Minimum Safe Manning Certificate increase from $80.00 to $100.00; deletion of ships will move from $132.50 to $265.00; and Boat Engineer Licence will increase from $80.00 to $100.00.
Regarding poultry, the finance minister said the broiler rate will move up from $1.75 to $2.00, and the rate for layers goes from $4.25 to $5.00.
In Fisheries, local fishing licenses, fishers ID cards and health certificates will also cost more.
Additionally, the minister said that in 2022, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Airport Service charge was reduced from $100 to $50. However, from May 1, 2023, the service charge will revert to $100.00 (US$40.00), providing an additional EC$4 million in revenue.
And persons who overstay their time in St Vincent and the Grenadines will pay more as the over stayers fees under the Immigration (Restriction) Act will be increased to $100.00 with effect from February 1, 2023. Gonsalves said currently, that fee is $25, but in the 2020 budget it should have moved up to $100 but this was not implemented.
This measure is expected to yield EC$100,000. The finance minister also announced a reduction in the income tax ceiling for individuals and companies, from 30% to 28%.
“For the first time since 2018, the Government is advancing its long-stated objective of gradually reducing the top marginal income tax rate to approximately 25 percent,” the finance minister said.
“ When Prime Minister Gonsalves assumed office in 2001, the top marginal rate was 40 percent…”,he reminded Parliament.
The income tax threshold for formal workers moves from 30% to 29% and there has also been a two percentage point reduction in Company Tax which took effect from January 1, 2023.
This measure is expected to result in a revenue loss of $12 million.
Minister Gonsalves noted that the Government has provided for additional subsidies, tax cuts and initiatives to help cushion the impacts of global inflation, the increase in fuel prices, and the threat of food security.
Some of these subsidies are distributed across agriculture, fuel, and electricity- a sum of $9.1 million.
“This is a Budget for this moment, for this nation, and for the transformation of our great country,” the Minister of Finance concluded.