Editorial Staff
6 months ago

Editorial Staff
6 months ago

Government stands firm on Last-Minute ABST relief for back-to-school season

By Zaya Williams

 

Despite facing public criticism, the government remains resolute in its decision to offer Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) relief for back-to-school expenses at the eleventh hour, dismissing critics as mere nitpickers.

The government’s move to grant a waiver on ABST for back-to-school items, just days before schools are scheduled to reopen, has drawn considerable public scrutiny. Many have expressed concerns that the timing is less than ideal.

In response to these criticisms, Information Minister Melford Nicholas defended the government’s stance. He stated, ” “If there were parents who because of their own financial position were able to get their back-to-school supplies earlier than this time then that’s their good fortune but for the vast majority of persons we know the parents and we think that the offer than we made is opportune.”

Damani Tabor, the Public Relations Officer for the United Progressive Party (UPP), shared his perspective on an Observer radio program, suggesting that the government’s decision may be viewed as a “trick where they trying to score political points while at the same time limiting the benefit to you the people by implementing this at the last minute when they done know you did most of your shopping already.”

Tabor proposed an alternative course of action for the government, advocating for an extension of ABST relief to include digital devices and all essential educational peripherals and devices. He also suggested extending the relief period by another week or offering some relief on non-academic back-to-school essentials like juice boxes and snacks, which could help alleviate financial pressures on parents.

However, Minister Nicholas expressed skepticism about the feasibility of these suggestions, leaving the government’s decision unchanged.

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