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SVG's Parliament in session. (iWN file photo)
SVG’s Parliament in session. (iWN file photo)
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Accountant, Kirk DaSilva and trade unionist Cools Vanloo are among persons who will analyse the 2017 Budget at a forum hosted by two public sector trade unions on Thursday.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Teachers’ Union, in partnership with the SVG Public Service Union, will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting at Frenches House on Thursday, at 7 p.m. to discuss the budget.

The unions said in a release that the meeting will see representatives from the public and private sectors analysing the most pertinent aspects of the 2017 National Budget.

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Parliament, in February, approved an EC$976.4 million fiscal package for 2017, which will see the rate of valued added tax moving from 15 to 16 per cent as of May 1.

Departure tax at the nation’s airports were increased by 100 per cent, moving from EC$50 to EC$100 as of Feb. 15.

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Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Ralph Gonsalves, also announced that the government is also expanding the 2 per cent Telecommunication Levy it introduced last year, levying on incoming calls and data usage, in addition to outgoing calls, as was the case when it was introduced.

Funds from the tax are allocated to the Zero Hunger Trust Fund to assist the government in its fight to eradicate hunger in our country, Gonsalves said.

The EC$976.4 million budget is a 7 per cent increase over the 2016 budget.

An estimated EC$747.3 million will go towards recurrent expenditure, inclusive of Amortisation and Sinking Fund contributions and capital expenditure of EC$229.5 million.

The budget is financed by current revenue of EC$590.7 million and capital receipt of EC$368.2 million.

Opposition Leader, Godwin Friday said the budget “does not offer any hope for the young people of this country,” saying that with the expansion of the Telecommunication Levy, it taxes them more.