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Residents have been informed that there is a possibility of an ABST increase of at least 2% due to the government’s escalating obligations to raise the salaries of public servants.
The current sales tax rate in Antigua and Barbuda is set at 15%.
The decision has not yet been finalized, but Finance Minister and Prime Minister Gaston Browne has alerted the public to be prepared for a possible rise in the sales tax.
“We are at the stage now, going into the next budget, we have to make some adjustments. Possibly by next week, we will make that determination, we may have to increase the ABST by about one or two percent…If it is 2 percent, we will raise about 40 million dollars
“We are faced with increased obligations to cover the pay rise for public servants and we are determined that they must get their 14 percent increase and that will cost us about 40 million. And the most reliable way is to increase the ABST by 2 percent” Browne said
Although the government is “mulling it over,” Browne said, “we may have to do that…”
The government, according to Browne, has committed itself to significant financial responsibilities such as obtaining loans for the expansion of the University of the West Indies, funding repairs for the expansion of roads and infrastructure, and additional borrowings to cover operational costs.