Customs surcharges in São Tomé and Príncipe will be halved and there will be a customs exemption on importing animal feed, according to the proposed General State Budget Bill for 2019.
The proposal, which was approved by parliament last Tuesday, also includes a one-third reduction in tax rates on spirits, according to the STP-Press news agency.
Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus highlighted the three measures included in the budget, saying that the reduction of customs and alcohol taxes, “is aimed at increasing imports and reducing the price of products to the end consumer.”
In addition to saying, “the exemption from customs duties on the import of animal feed and the raw material required for its local production,” Bom Jesus explained that “this last measure, in particular, should have special attention from the Ministry of Agriculture, in order to ensure that its effects are not restricted to importers but have a positive impact on producers.”
Bom Jesus also argued that “the state is not in a position to promote the growth of the economy by itself,” and argued that “the private sector must play a special role in mobilising investments and realising the potential of various sectors of the economy.”
STP-Press reported that the reduced taxes, as well as the reduced costs of providing some public services, are some of the electoral pledges made by Prime Minister Jorge Bom Jesus during his campaign for the general elections of 7 October 2018.
Expenditure listed in the State Budget in the equivalent of US$150 million will be 2.8% covered by domestic revenues and the remaining 97.2% by external resources including loans and donations from bilateral and multilateral partners, particularly China, Equatorial Guinea and Angola.