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By Aabigayle McIntosh
The Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet is expected to make a decision today regarding the proposal recommended by the Ministry of Finance for a 2% increase in the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).
According to Prime Minister and Finance Minister Gaston Browne, these are just suggestions and no action will be taken until the Cabinet reaches a decision.
Despite this, he did mention that even if the Cabinet approves the proposal to raise ABST from 15 percent to 17 percent, Antigua and Barbuda would still remain as one of the least taxed jurisdictions in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Currently, the tax to GDP ratio in the country is 16 percent, well below the regional average of 24 percent.
If the ABST is increased to 17 percent, which results in a net effect of one percent on the tax-to-GDP ratio, the tax base in the country would still be significantly lower compared to other countries in the OECS and beyond.
It is important to note that the recommendations have been put forth as a way to guarantee that the government can meet its obligation to increase the salaries and wages of public sector workers, as well as to pay off the outstanding amounts owed to local suppliers and contractors.