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An internet photo of Japanese used cars.
An internet photo of Japanese used cars.
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By A Very Concerned and Disappointed Citizen

Having seen the press release from the Ministry of Finance as it relates to the new import tax regimes for vehicles, I could not stay silent. The release was tactfully put together to give the impression that the reduction that you see will equate to total cost reductions. However, that is not the case.

Let me use a light-hearted example that captures the essence of the comparison between the old and new vehicle tax-regime. In 2021, you could buy a one-scoop vanilla ice-cream for a total cost of EC$4 because that is your budget and you may not be able to afford a two-scoop vanilla ice-cream.  In 2022, the one-scoop vanilla ice-cream has a 15% discount, but the total cost is now EC$13, due to some autocratic and arbitrary change in the ice-cream surcharge. This increase is outside the scope of one’s budget.

Does that discount help, or is it a smokescreen?
The new import tax regime for vehicles is the brainchild of a young man stationed in the Ministry of Finance. This idea by the young lad was very eagerly accepted by Finance and Cabinet. Once Cabinet approved the proposal, the Customs was then instructed to incorporate the relevant changes into their Asycuda system.
I call this new change the Greedy Bill 2.0 for two reasons.

  1. The first reason is due to disingenuous statements by various ministers who try to sell this new tax regime as beneficial to the citizens of this country. The question one should ask is which citizens would benefit, and that leads to my second reason.
  2. The second reason is that this greedy bill serves to benefit ministers of government, persons at the highest levels in government and statutory corporations, who already receive vehicle concessions.
    If you do not fall within this minute per cent, then “crappo smoke yo pipe” as we say colloquially. The rich get richer, while the other 97 – 99% have to pull out more money to buy a vehicle.

Kindly look at the table below and see comparative information about some real vehicle costs from reputable vehicle websites, and the contrasting duties between the old and new vehicle regimes.

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In order to get the total cost borne by the citizen under the old vehicle regime, add the vehicle CIF figure (3rd column) with the old tariff customs duties figure (5th column). To get the total cost to the citizen under the new vehicle regime, add the vehicle CIF figure (3rd column) with the new tariff customs duties figure (4th column).

Customs dues

Forget all the talk of a decrease in import duty and ask yourself, does your money go further? Is it more expensive for you to buy a vehicle under this new vehicle regime?

According to the 2022 Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance, the average total landed cost of vehicles imported under the old regime was EC$27,000. So, before the Greedy Bill 2.0, a person could import a small engine vehicle with a budget of EC$25,000 to EC$28,000 (this includes the cost of the vehicle and customs duties). Now, with this new regime, the average citizen will have to operate on at least a budget of approximately EC$39,000 to EC$40,000 (which is an additional EC$12,000 to EC$14,000) to purchase a vehicle. The average citizen will be incurring more debt. Think about what that additional money could do for existing mortgages, medical bills, school bills, family health care, child health care, groceries, vehicle maintenance, home maintenance, and so on.

Do the creators and approvers of this modern and insensitive greedy bill care? When told that this vehicle proposal is not for the normal working people, it was said by a senior member of the Ministry of Finance, “Vincentians will find the money, as usual.” This insidious and callous statement is common of entitled and privileged people who have and do not care about those who do not have. Classic case of the haves and haves not.

This proposal by the young man and acceptance by the powers that be depicted a serious divorce from reality as it relates to increased unemployment and cost of living, due to the economic complexities created by the eruption of Soufriere, COVID-19, and the ongoing saga between Russia and Ukraine.
I had really hoped that this new vehicle regime was going to benefit all citizens. I thought it was going to bring a time of respair, but all it is doing is taking the majority of citizens further into despair. Who feels it knows it, and Jah knows I feel it.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

8 replies on “New Customs vehicle import regime and the Greedy Bill 2.0”

  1. Spot on simples at least some of us are smelling the coffee, again straight talk simple maths. Looks like I’d best stay in my lane wid me ole Car……

  2. Anthony Tony Durrant says:

    As a citizen of this country, I fully support what the young man is trying to do, that is, to reduce the polluting vehicles of an overcrowded island and better manage the transportation system. If we are honest with each other, people should be walking much more, thus reducing the incident of overweight, diabetes and heart diseases.

  3. Fitzborne Chambers says:

    I expressed my concerns about this ripoff a few months ago. A vehicle I payed $34000 CIF for two years ago, It cost close $70000. The cost of shipping has increased worldwide and now the slap in the face and asking us to say the shit they rub in our face should smell like perfume.

  4. These increases are onerous and exclude many hardworking Vincentians from acquiring vehicles. Moreover, this package was marketed as a relief for Vincentians from high customs duties. This was an untruth. Vincentians are now paying a 70 percent increase for the importation of used vehicles.Please revert to the old system. It was fairer, more transparent and less financially burdensome.

  5. Yes Anthony Tony Durant I guess you can afford it. But about average man the poorer class I am really sorry for some poor people in this country to be honest not all of them some deserve it.. we are being rule by a iron fist but every man work will come to and end. People there are some battles that has to be fought by prayers

  6. As the person referred to as ME said,” Some battles can only be handled by only one who is capable of making changes in our Universe. (God); we have to channel everything through Prayer,” I share the same sentiment. The mill of the lord grinds slow but exceedingly fine.

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