Today, Leader of the Opposition and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP), Honourable Dr Godwin Friday, has renewed his call for the government to take action to tackle the high cost of living in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
In August 2022, Dr Friday outlined in a national address, the gravity of the situation and the need for immediate action. Twelve (12) months later, the government has not implemented any measure to reduce the rising cost of living. It shows that the government is out of touch with the reality of high prices and hard times for our people.
Dr Friday said, “Go into any store, talk to any person and they will tell you, they are struggling, and they need relief. In the long term, we need a national strategy to create more and better paying jobs to raise the standard of living for every person in our country. Our people need support now. That is why the NDP has proposed a 5-point action plan that would provide support to Vincentians. The government members are saying they are doing all they can, but I challenge any one of them to go on a walkabout, go into a shop, and talk to people, they are worried about expenses and making ends meet ahead of the upcoming school year.”
The NDP’s plan includes:
1) Reduce VAT from 16% down to 13%
2) Reduce the Customs Service charge,“the Big Tax on Everything”
3) Increase support for lower income families
4) Reduce the impact of the fuel surcharge on VINLEC bills
5) Review the list of VAT items with a view to increasing the number of zero-rated items.
Dr Friday added: “The time for action is now. The NDP will always prioritise the national interest ahead of any political or public relations considerations.”