By anguillian December 18, 2017 15:03 Updated




The long-running Interim Stabilisation Levy in Anguilla has been renewed again from December 31st this year to December 31st 2018 because of the much-needed contribution it is making to the Government’s budgetary demands.
A piece of legislation, entitled the Interim Stabilisation Levy (Amendment) Bill 2017, was introduced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday this week, December 13, to that effect by Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. Victor Banks.
“The Government of Anguilla has been working on the new budget for 2018,” Mr. Banks said in moving the first reading of the Bill. “We thank the British taxpayers for the support they have given us, as far as the capital side of that budget is concerned, for over 220 million EC dollars over the next two years. We know that the people of Anguilla have also got to make sacrifices. Those sacrifices have to ensure that we meet our recurrent requirements for 2018 to come as close to a balanced budget as possible.”
Mr. Banks said he was optimistic about 2018 but was also cautious. “We are looking forward to a good year in 2018 – not necessarily in the tourism industry, but certainly in the wider economy,” he stated. “This is because of the level of the rebuilding that will take place and the number of major projects that will be undertaken in 2018 – and also because a number of investors have continued to show interest.”
The Chief Minister continued: “I have agonised from the day I came into office about the Interim Stabilisation Levy, but I have recognised that in the business of governance and politics we have to make accommodation from time to time. The best we can do is to make sure that something is done that is fair and equitable as possible. We have tried with the Interim Stabilisation Levy. It is intended to [develop] into a National Heath Fund. That has also been delayed because of the passage of Hurricane Irma, but we certainly are working towards that. We have a number of things in place to ensure that in 2018 we will make significant progress in that direction. I am bringing this Bill to the House. It is a single line amendment. It is changing December 31, 2017 to December 31st 2018 – and the commencement date is January 1, 2018.”
Minister of Infrastructure and Communications, Mr. Curtis Richardson, said: “This is a very distasteful matter for me… It is very disheartening for me to come back here once again to have to support this, but I have to support it. It raises between some 14-16 million dollars but during the campaign trail this Government gave a commitment that when we came to office we would find an avenue to address it – as it was a concern to a lot of people. Shortly after coming to office we realise that it was serving a very useful purpose in terms of raising revenue for the Government of Anguilla.”
Mr. Richardson was of the view “that there is no way of getting around it in these extreme hard times.” He stressed that while he was sorry to think otherwise during the election campaign, “it [the levy] is extremely necessary.
Leader of the Opposition, Ms. Palmavon Webster, charged that the Government was “not listening to the people in relation to the Interim Stabilisation Levy and “has not been responsive to the needs of the people.”

Minister of Social Development, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers, said he and his colleagues originally thought the levy was not a fair and equitable tax. While his views have not changed, he joined the Chief Minister in saying it would later evolve in a National Health Fund.

By anguillian December 18, 2017 15:03 Updated


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