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No new taxes for Antiguans

NATASHA BECKLES, [email protected]

No new taxes for Antiguans

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 ST JOHN’S – The Antigua and Barbuda government has presented an EC$874.8 million tax free budget to Parliament announcing also a reduction in the rate of personal income tax and the payment of outstanding arrears to public servants.
“This anticipated 15 per cent increase in revenue over the expected actual revenue out-turn for 2013 will not be achieved through any new taxes or tax increases,” Finance Minister Harold Lovell told legislators Thursday, insisting that the Baldwin Spencer administration had no intention of increasing taxes to meet the fiscal package.
“I repeat this administration has no intention of introducing any new taxes, nor will we increase any existing taxes,” Lovell told legislators.
He said the growth in revenue will be as a result “increased economic activity in 2014” adding that a number of projects would be implemented during the 12 months.
“The growth in revenue will be a result of increased economic activity in 2014 as implementation of a number of projects I highlighted earlier commences; the revenues generated through the Citizenship by Investment Programme; and continued reforms in the tax administration system that will bring about increased compliance,” he added. 
But in an immediate reaction, Opposition Leader Gaston Browne described the fiscal package, titled The New Economy as unoriginal.
He said the budget contains a number of “plagiarised initiatives of the Antigua Labour Party” recalling that even the theme of the fiscal package had been taken from a previous statement made by “our late father of the nation” Vere Bird Sr. (CMC)