The Government of Montserrat wants to increase tariff rates on a number of items in an effort to reduce their use and encourage better environmental and lifestyle choices for residents.
In the 2020/21 Budget Speech, Premier and Minister of Finance Joseph Farrell said the environment is a key concern for his Government and they “will be looking to increase the tariff rates on single use plastic bags, single use food containers and Styrofoam food and drink containers for a period of one year.”
This new tariff is to be implemented by the third quarter of 2020/21 financial year and is to lead to a full ban on importation of single use plastic bags, single use food containers and Styrofoam food and drink containers by the first quarter of 2021/22 financial year,” the premier stated.
As health care and the construction of a new hospital has been given the number one priority of the current government, he said this must be supported “through taxation. We will seek during the third quarter of 2020-21 the introduction of increases tariff rates on sugary drinks and alcohol drinks and seek to reduce rates on healthy foods, and food supplements and over the counter health supplements.”
According to the current Customs Tariff, sodas attract a 45% consumption tax, beers and stouts currently attract a 75% tax, while vodka, whiskey and other liquors 65% consumption tax.
Farrell said “we need to support local businesses and potential foreign and local investors, and my Government will continue to do so, but we need to balance the concessions that we provide to businesses against the loss of revenues to Government which can then be used to invest in education, health, youth, sports and other key services. We will look to provide concessions in the future to businesses that provide clear economic benefit to the nation, that will provide new jobs and lead to significant investment. We need to support game changers in investment. My Government will look to review and revise the current Micro and Small Businesses Act and the Fiscal Incentives Acts over the coming months and replace them with something fit for purpose, to ensure they focus on the development of business, generation of employment and by extension enhance GoM revenue collections.”