BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JANUARY 21ST, 2017 (PRESS SEC) — The vastly improved local economy, a more prosperous consumer class and the release of pent-up consumer demand following the Team Unity Government’s removal of the 17 percent VAT from food, medicines, educational supplies and funeral expenses on April 7th, 2015 have boosted sales of consumer durables, such as automobiles.
“Mr. Speaker, the sale of vehicles has been of particular interest for many persons,” Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said yesterday, Friday, January 20th, 2017, in the Parliament, adding that, “The 2016 Discounted VAT Rate Day was the best ever on record. Compared to the two Discounted VAT Rate Days in 2014 under the last administration when 155 vehicles were sold – 122 then on St. Kitts and 33 on Nevis. In 2016, a whopping 247 vehicles were sold – an amazing 202 vehicles on one [Discounted VAT Rate] day in St. Kitts and 45 vehicles on Nevis.”
Prime Minister Harris, who is the Minister of Finance, also said that, “Something good must be happening when more persons can afford to buy their own means of vehicular transport. Something good is happening in the economy when in the space of two years, from 2014 to 2016, nearly 100 more vehicles are sold on Discounted VAT Rate Day or there is a whopping and highly significant 60 percent increase in reported car sales – not over two days; in one day. In one day, we outmatched and we outperformed every other period under which the VAT reduction rate had applied.”
Dr. Harris continued: “TDC was the most prolific seller of vehicles on Discounted VAT Rate Day, topping its competitors with a record of 151 vehicles – 120 on St. Kitts and 31 on Nevis…TDC alone, in 2016 on the Discounted VAT Rate Day, sold nearly three times the 56 cars it sold for the similar VAT reduction period – in that time it was two days – in 2014, and it [TDC’s car sales on the Discounted VAT Rate Day in 2016] nearly equaled the 155 vehicles sold across all participating businesses on the Discounted VAT Rate Days in 2014.”
TDC’s Automotive Division and other car dealerships are riding a wave of success, as evidenced by stronger sales over the past two years, particularly on Discounted VAT Rate Day. The 2015 Discounted VAT Rate Day saw a total of 230 cars sold across all car dealerships – 175 in St. Kitts and 55 in Nevis.
The TDC Group’s 2015/2016 Directors’ Report published in its 2016 Annual Report stated that, “The year under review was a historic one for the Automotive Divisions. In December 2015, the highest monthly sales were recorded since the introduction of the Toyota brand in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”
More car sales bode well for gas stations and the automotive aftercare market, which consists of tire and car repair shops, car washes, as well as businesses that sell an assortment of accessories and parts. The licensing and registration of vehicles puts money into the public purse, and the banking and insurance industries also are favourably impacted by increased car sales.
The benefits of car ownership include a better management of one’s time, and along with that come improved productivity and less stress due to the greater control and convenience afforded by owning a car.
“Mr. Speaker, we are of course very happy for all those who are now able to obtain their own vehicular transportation, thanks of course to Team Unity’s low tax policy,” the Honourable Prime Minister said yesterday, Friday, January 20th, in the Parliament.