This came at Tuesday’s town hall meeting for residents of St. Thomas and St. James parishes at the Brickiln Church of God.
Among issues addressed were details surrounding the implementation of the Value Added Tax [VAT] on the supply of goods and services within the federation of St. Kitts-Nevis.
In a very humbled voice, as he appealed to members of his constituency to support the government in its tax reform efforts, Minister Nisbett underpinned the equity involved in the implementation of the value added tax.
“It has always been said that the burden of taxation is borne by the underprivileged in our society. It is borne by the poor and those who are most vulnerable in our community and I believe if there was ever a tax that was implemented or that is going to be implemented that would capture as broad a base in terms of the tax net, I believe the Value Added Tax is such a tax.
“It would impact upon those who are well to do or well off in our society, those who are a part of the middle class and those who are a part of the not so high class in our community,” Minister Nisbett said.
The Legal Affairs Minister also expressed the importance of reforming the federation’s tax structure as his government seeks to make a transition from an agricultural based economy to a service oriented one.
“The Value Added Tax has been recommended by the IMF and the different institutions as the tax that is best suited to deal with that transit from that type of economy to a service oriented economy,” he said.
Minister Nisbett, who expressed the belief that “this Value Added Tax is a response to the present fiscal situation that we are faced with in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said that although residents had grown accustom to receiving subsidized services courtesy of the government, a system had to be put in place to ease the financial strain on the government.
“I believe that there is only one way the government can pay for these services and this is through the revenue that is raised through taxation of the citizens here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” Nisbett said.
He appealed to the residents gathered to give complete support to the government in its tax reform efforts and to look beyond the criticisms at the overall benefits to the federation’s citizens.
“If you enjoy the good, I believe that you must contribute to ensuring that the good continues and so there must be equal and shared contribution or rather, equity in the contribution towards the furthering of the cause,” Minister Nisbett said.
Among those present at the town hall meeting were Premier of Nevis and Minister of Finance in the Nevis Island Administration the Honourable Joseph Parry, Junior Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry Honourable Dwight Cozier, Cabinet Secretary Mr. Ashley Farrell, Deputy Comptroller of Inland Revenue (Nevis) Ms. Neva Manners and Deputy Team Leader for the Tax Reform Unit Ms. Kimone Moving.