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PM Browne also disclosed that adjustments will be made to several taxes charged to both individuals and businesses.
Furthermore, the list of items that are zero-rated for the two percent increase in the rate of the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) will be widened.
Despite these adjustments, Antigua and Barbuda will continue to have the lowest tax-to-GDP ratio and revenue-to-GDP ratio in the region, according to PM Browne.
The changes in taxes include implementing the increased property tax rate on properties valued at $3 million or more, a 10% excise tax on alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis products, and increasing the Money Transfer Levy from 2% to 5%.
In addition, the ABST tax base will be broadened by enhancing the list of services that would attract the ABST, including online streaming services.
The concessionary ABST rate applicable to several transactions in the tourism sector will also come to an end.
The ABST rate will be increased from 15% to 17%, and this rate will be applied to the tourism sector, which currently attracts a rate of 14%.
The government will continue to pursue its social relief programme by extending the ABST zero-rated items.
These items include most fruits and vegetables, baby products, dry goods and oils, chicken, fish, locally produced meats, bread, cereals, cheese and milk, water, medicine, pharmaceutical supplies, and adult diapers.
Supplies for use in the agriculture and fisheries sectors will not be affected by the change in the ABST rate, according to PM Browne.
The proposed National Budget for the fiscal year 2024 is $1.9 billion. Total revenues and grants for 2024 will amount to $1.2 billion, which represents 18.7 percent of GDP. Total expenditures, excluding amortization payments, will amount to $1.3 million or 20 percent of GDP.
Amortization payments have been tagged at $569.5 million or 8.9 percent of GDP, and the country’s net financing requirements are $649.7 million or 10.1 percent of GDP.
To meet the net financing requirements for Budget 2024, the government will primarily rely on the issuance of securities on the Regional Government Securities Market, which will amount to $250 million, and disbursement of loans and advances amounting to $210 million, as PM Browne explained.
Debate on the 2024 Budget will begin on December 19th, 2023.