Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has implied that Government will be reducing the income tax threshold to EC$36,000 per year as part of a home grown structural adjustment programme, that is expected to get the approval of the International Monetary Fund and other donors.
However, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell has given assurances that the poor and marginalized will not be impacted. “Whatever happens, the majority of people will still not be paying taxes because most people are not earning EC$3,000 a month”, Dr Mitchell told a meeting held in the parish of St John last week. At present, income tax is 30% on earnings above EC$5,000 per month.
The 2014 budget will be delivered in early December and it’s expected that the new threshold will officially be announce at that time.
He also said that Grenada is expecting about US$300 million dollars in debt relief as a result of debt restructuring program being designed. “If we get that arrangement settled, and we do what we are expected to do we could get as much as US$300 million dollars of debt relief over a period of time,” Dr Mitchell said.
He told the meeting that as a country, sacrifices will have to be made by nationals, indicating that everyone will have to pay their fair share of taxes. The Prime Minister is projecting major economic development for the country as a result of the restructuring program.
“The monies we are getting could help people invest in more Small Business Enterprises, could help develop more educational activities for our children — more scholarships and training to prepare them to take the jobs that’s coming; could be put to health care so that when you go to the hospital you can get modern day treatment,” he said.
He further explain that the money through the programme will also be able to help expand Agricultural activities by investing in technology and improving production levels and giving farmers more power to earn more money.
While admitting that Grenada needs the backing of the IMF any program finalised will not be one prescribed by IMF. “It is a Grenada program supported by the IMF. Let’s get it straight, IMF not running Grenada, we are running Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique”, he said.
by Linda Straker