REVISED VAT FREE BASKET OF GOODS FROM SEPTEMBER 1
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs has moved ahead with Government’s policy as announced in the June 2015 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals for a revised list of basic food items to reflect a more affordable, healthy and better targeted VAT free Basket of Goods.
Mr. Sinckler stressed that the VAT free basket has been carefully selected by an Inter-Ministerial Committee following intense discussions over a nine-month period.
“Government has ensured that foods of high nutritional value which reflect the needs of the average Barbadian have remained in this basket. For every item that has been taken out, a nutritious equivalent substitute remains in the basket. This was an important recommendation of the Committee as it strongly believed that the changes should not negatively impact the health of Barbadians,” Minister Sinckler underscored.
He explained that from the inception of VAT in 1997, a basket of basic food items was included to give relief, especially to the poor and vulnerable, who were likely to be more negatively impacted by the tax.
He said: “We ended up with a basket of goods with a lot more sophisticated things than would have been described as basic. In other words, we ended up with over 400 items and that was because of a particular challenge that occurred in relation to the disaggregation of the tariff headings, which apparently did not take place. Whole tariff headings were copied into the basket and therefore items that were not originally intended to be in the basket got in there.”
An example of some items included in the amended VAT free basket of goods are: cane sugar, wheat or mueslin flour, brown and white rice, fresh fruit, dried legumes, pasta, chow mein, and fresh or dried citrus fruit, vegetables, potatoes, chicken and various types of fish. (SA/BGIS)