The Government of Grenada says that after consultation, it has been decided that, what is referred to as the “free barrel programme,” will be discontinued this year.
Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has been meeting throughout the week with officials of the business community, non-government organisations and the labour movement to discuss Government’s approach to a fiscal and structural adjustment programme to ensure economic stability.
“We believe that at a time when we are asking international creditors for significant debt relief, Government cannot continue with what is essentially a tax giveaway,” Government spokesperson Kisha Alexander-Grant said Wednesday.
The decision to discontinue the programme is also consistent with Government’s policy to help boost the local business sector, by encouraging more local purchases.
“The local business community has been through a difficult four and half years, and we must find creative ways to support it. This Government understands that a strong local business sector means a strong local economy and more employment. In the long term we believe that this is the wisest policy for all concerned“, Alexander-Grant said.
The Government spokesperson added:
“Government is still encouraging Grenadians abroad to support their families at home — whether it is by sending cash for local purchases — or by barrels.
However, the barrels will be subject to the normal duties.”
It is important that at a time when the Government is beginning to spend more money on training, opportunities and job creation, that it uses the revenue collected in a very responsible manner.
Government has met its commitment to public officers and teachers by paying both salary increases and retroactive pay for the first time in five years.