Barrel Concessions Earlier This Christmas
18 December 2020
The annual Barrel Concessions initiative started early this year as the Government of Saint Lucia delivered economic relief incentives as part of the Social Stabilization Plan to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme was put in place to assist the needy and underprivileged families during the Christmas season. Traditionally, starting in November of each year to January 31st of the following year, the Government of Saint Lucia felt the need to move up the date of this relief measure.
“The barrel concession will provide much needed relief to the poor, the vulnerable and the thousands of Saint Lucians who have lost their jobs or source of income,” said Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told the House of Assembly in June, when the bill to amend the usual Christmas Barrel Concession was passed allowing Saint Lucians to enjoy Duty Free Barrels from June rather than the usual November start.
The programme has been very successful with thousands of Saint Lucians utilizing the concessions. In a report to the House of Assembly on Tuesday the Minister of Finance stated that for the June 1st period to present, the Customs and Excise Department cleared 26,079 barrels valued at over $18 million and Saint Lucians at home and abroad enjoyed savings of over $6.6 million.
For the usual period last year from November 15th 2019 to January 31st 2020, the Department recorded 16,482 barrels, seeing a difference of 9,597 for this year’s extended concessionary period.
The Government of Saint Lucia urges Saint Lucians to continue to take advantage of the barrel concession programme until January 31st, 2021. The stipulations are the limit of two barrels per household and the application of requisite taxes, duties and charges on non-provisional items like electronics or commercial goods remain.
According to the Prime Minister this relief measure will allow thousands of Saint Lucians to obtain much needed supplies from their relatives and friends abroad, particularly during this difficult time.
In an address to the Nation on April 8 the Prime Minister announced the Social Stabilization Plan, which highlighted a wide range of relief measures to help citizens cushion the social and economic shock brought on by the on-going pandemic. The national feeding program, an Income Support Programme and tax credits for businesses have all been rolled out as the Government of Saint Lucia continues to chart its way on the road to recovery.
Also in Parliament on Tuesday this week, the House moved to grant all Parliamentarians exemption on tax on imports for care packages for children and the vulnerable in their constituencies. This includes food, toys, personal hygiene products and other personal protective supplies for the Christmas season.