A Grenadian businessman has accused the Keith Mitchell-led government in the Botanical Gardens at Tanteen of engaging in “ambush” tactics on the importation of paint products into the country.
The private sector official told THE NEW TODAY that government has now imposed a 50% tariff on paint without giving any formal notification to these businesses involved in importing the product.
He said that he was aware of the existence of a SRO from government calling for an increase of 50% duty on paint coming from outside the region that was passed sometime around 2014 to 2016.
However, he said that the government through the Customs Department has quietly implemented the new price regime without notifying private sector concerns.
“This is madness,” he told THE NEW TODAY.
According to the businessman, the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration of Dr. Mitchell never enforced the SRO with the increase in duties out of fears that it would place a serious burden on local importers of paint from extra-regional sources.
He said the move was clearly intended to protect Sissons G’da Ltd, the only local producer of paint products.
He explained that under the SRO, it was proposed that businesses pay 50% duty on all imported paints from Trinidad, Barbados and out of the region.
“It was never enforced. It is now being levied on even imported paint from Trinidad by 50%. They have made no announcement – very quietly. This is madness. Nobody knows – just quietly they’re doing it,” he said.
The private sector official charged that consumers are not aware of this development which will result in higher prices for some paint products.
He said: “As of now all paint that is not made in Grenada or in St Vincent you are paying 50% duty on paint. This is going to be a helluva increase to all the consumers in Grenada. Quite a massive jump and nobody has said a word about it – very quietly they put it in”.
The businessman told THE NEW TODAY that he checked with the Customs Department on the increase in the tariff for paint and was informed that that the SRO was around a long time now and was just never enforced but the law was always there.
He said the Customs indicated that it was only now enforcing the SRO that was passed over 5 years ago by Mitchell’s NNP regime.