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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Jan 29, 2021 - 3:06:55 PM

Saint Lucia: Government expands social stabilization programme
By Nicole Mc Donald
Jan 28, 2021 - 2:30:02 PM

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Barrel Concessions Extended

Recognizing the relief the concessions on the importation of barrels provides, the Government of Saint Lucia has extended the time period for a further two months.

As part of the Social Stabilization Programme, the Government of Saint Lucia announced in 2020, that the barrel concession which normally started at Christmastime, would begin in early June and extend to January 31st 2021. The Cabinet of Ministers took the decision to further extend this concession until March 31st 2021.

Minister for Equity, Social Justice, Local Government and Empowerment, Honourable Lenard Montoute, welcomed the decision.

“We know that this is a measure that allows persons to get relief especially when you have relatives overseas who are in a position to assist or you have persons in the diaspora who want to help others at home in Saint Lucia,” said Minister Montoute. “Covid-19 has had a major impact on the economy and livelihoods and any support we can provide in helping our brothers and sisters should be facilitated and encouraged. As a Government we have continued to come up with relief measures that reach the most vulnerable, such as the electricity assistance, the care packages and added more persons to list to receive monthly assistance. So this step in terms of continuing the barrel concession is part of that approach of ensuring those who need care the most receive it.”

The Customs and Excise Department has explained that for the period June 1st 2020 to January 28th 2021, the number of barrels cleared is 28, 866. This is an increase over the 2019 period of 75%. During this time period over $11.5 Million has stayed in the hands of Saint Lucians which would have otherwise been duty and service charge fees.

Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Allen Chastanet explained that he was pleased the early start to the programme had allowed so many to take advantage of the concession and he said that the Government is continuously looking at ways to build on the Social Stabilization Plan.

“Saint Lucians have been able to bring in and receive essential supplies, educational supplies and other products to help make it through this difficult time and we recognize that there are some who would still like this opportunity,” said Prime Minister Chastanet. “There are some people who have just been able to get back to work not just here but abroad and this would go a long way in helping the diaspora especially to assist where they can.”

The Prime Minister explains that other relief measures under the Social Stabilization Plan have also been of great benefit to the most vulnerable and he vowed that the Government will keep working on ensuring the most vulnerable receive care.

Under the concession period the following applies: 100 percent waiver of import duty on personal items, food, clothing, toys and other household consumables contained in barrels; the number of barrels is limited to three (3) per household; the upper limit of $2500 per barrel on the value of items qualify for the concession and the items must be for personal use and not commercial.

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