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Antigua and Barbuda’s Cabinet deliberated on three draft bills scheduled for parliamentary presentation preceding the budget unveiling this morning.
Upon parliamentary approval, these bills will instigate marginal increases affecting the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST), elevating it from 15 to 17 percent, along with adjustments to the Airport Tax and the so-called “Sin Tax.”
The latter, targeting alcohol, tobacco, cannabis products, and gaming, derives its name from the perceived adverse impact on citizens’ health and well-being due to the use of these items or participation in related activities.
Financial Secretary Rasona Davis-Crump, in a recent state television appearance, emphasized the necessity of this tax to support a heavily subsidized public healthcare system. Financial authorities recommended a 10 percent tax in this context.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne is expected to disclose additional details during his morning presentation.
The proposed modification to the “Sin Tax,” coupled with the airport tax hike and a two percent increment in ABST, reflects government measures aimed at achieving a 25 percent revenue target. Both government and financial officials have stressed the urgency of making these adjustments to prevent a situation where meeting financial obligations, including public sector wages and salaries, and addressing crucial areas like healthcare and road infrastructure, becomes challenging.
The emphasis is on proactive adjustments to ensure sustained financial stability and national development.