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Lusa - Business News - Sao Tome: Government programme 'aimed at boosting households' spending power'




Sao Tome,Nov.25,2022(Lusa)-The new government of Sao Tome and Principe has submitted to parliament a programme that it says is based on improving the purchasing power of families, restoration of infrastructure, improving institutions and productivity, as well as planning to "postpone" the introduction in the country of value-added tax for the first time.
The improvement of the purchasing power of Sao Tome families is what links the "two axes that are part of the emergency plan" of the programme of this 18th Sao Tome government for the next four years.
"As we know with the war in Ukraine, with the increase in fuel prices in international markets, therefore, all this caused what we call imported inflation, which means that today we have inflation above two digits, something that we did not have almost a decade ago," said the cabinet office minister with responsibility for parliamentary affairs, Gareth Guadalupe.
The document was handed over to the speaker of the National Assembly, Celmira Sacramento.
According to the minister, another priority of the government's programme is "recovery of infrastructure" - especially the bridges and roads destroyed in December of last year and March of this year by the heavy rains and floods that hit the archipelago.
"We cannot talk about improving the purchasing power of families, produce and not have roads and bridges that take products to market," Guadalupe said. "All partners are sensitive to what has to do with infrastructure and increasing the resilience of these infrastructures to environmental issues, we are talking about building bridges that are much safer to bad weather, to the rains, to the floods."
The third axis of the government led by the new prime minister, Patrice Trovoada, is the "improvement of institutions" - to includes "good governance [and] the reform or modernisation of justice" that "is so necessary," according to the minister. "The last axis has to do with the productive sector [where] we want to take into account environmental issues because today, when we talk about agriculture, tourism, [in] all this we have to see environmental aspects - not because it looks good for partners, but because we have to understand that we really do have to pay more attention to everything that has to do with environmental issues."
Guadalupe said that the government will "give priority to improving the purchasing power of families" and stressed that "this is something that doesn't need many resources to do."
One of the measures cited by the minister is the planned suspension of the coming into force of a law "approved by the previous government that has to do with the increase of the social security contribution from ten to fourteen percent" that had been due to come into force next in January.
"At this time when we already have double-digit inflation, if we have to increase the rate for the social security contribution, naturally we are going to reduce the disposable income of families," said Guadalupe. "This law is something that we are going to have to suspend."
The minister also said that Sao Tome's government would analyse with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank a move to "postpone" the implementation of VAT that was scheduled for next year, given that the country currently has "double digit inflation, around twenty percent" and "VAT is a regressive tax - in other words it is applied at fifteen percent both to those who have more purchasing power and to those who have less purchasing power."
The minister also promised measures to reduce the cost of living for residents in the Autonomous Region of Príncipe, "who have issues of double, sometimes triple insularity" in terms of the impact on their local economy of being on the geographical periphery.
"We have to look at everything that we can so that the products of the basic basket arrive in the Autonomous Region of Príncipe at the same price as they are in São Tomé, even the issue of fuel," he said. "All this has to be taken into consideration to ensure that in the coming times, there is at least a stemming of the increase in the cost of living of families or better purchasing power."
Last week, the government decided to "suspend all trips abroad financed with public funds, whether from the public treasury, public companies or autonomous public institutes, with exceptional situations to be analysed and authorised by the minister in charge."
The government has also prohibited "the circulation of State vehicles outside normal working hours" with the exception of vehicles belonging to the Civil Protection and Emergency Services, public health services, public cleaning services, as well as vehicles belonging to the prison and social reinsertion services, school transport and vehicles used by media organisations.
The measures were adopted in the first cabinet meeting of the government, which "found that the country is in an extremely worrying state financially" that would require from all "a large effort of expenditure restraint."
Parliamentary elections were held in Sao Tome and Principe on 25 September, resulting in Trovoada's ADI party securing 30 of the 55 seats, while the MLSTP–PSD of the incumbent prime minister, Jorge Bom Jesus, won just 18.

JYAF/ARO // ARO.
Lusa


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2022-11-26 00:06:00







 

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