By Demion Mc Tair
As of May 1, 2023, the Airport Service Charge will return to EC $100.
This is one of several fiscal measures announced for 2023 by Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves during his budget address on January 9.
According to Mr. Gonsalves the Airport Service Charge was reduced by 50 percent – from EC$100 to EC $50 on June 12, 2022.
The measure which was authorized by Statutory Rule and Order No. 22 of 2022 was undertaken as a symbolic means to encourage regional travel, Mr. Gonsalves said.
He said: “with the collapse of LIAT, travel within the region is proving to be quite challenging. The existing airlift capacity on various inter-island routes is deficient leading to great inconvenience to the traveling public.”
“Additionally, as travel restrictions, internationally and regionally have been rolled back, and persons are traveling more freely… although I see the United States has reimposed the vaccine requirement to enter the US, we believe that it is propitious to return the Airport Service Charge to $100,” the finance minister added.
He said: “To this end, with effect from May 1, 2023, the Airport Service Charge will revert to EC$100 or $40 USD.”
“An additional four million dollars in revenue is expected from this measure. These funds will flow directly to the Argyle International Airport to bolster the operating bottom line of the company,” the finance minister said.
Meanwhile, from February 1, 2023, the Overstayers Fee will be increased from EC $25 to EC $100 (1 EC/XCD = $0.37 USD).
The overstayers fee increase
Minister Gonsalves said the Overstayers Fee under the Immigration Restriction Act is currently $25 if an individual overstays his/her time in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“In budget 2020, this fee was increased to $100 but was not implemented along with the Extension of Stay Fees which was increased to $100,” he said.
He said: “As a result, most persons who wish to stay longer in the country simply pay the lower overstay fee than they do to apply for an extension of stay because one is $25 and one is $100. To address this act of arbitrage, the Overstayers Fee will be increased to $100 with effect from the first of February, 2023.”
“This measure is expected to yield EC$100,000 dollars in additional revenue,” he added.