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Insurance delays may extend no import duties order

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith.

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said Government is likely to extend the customs duties exemption that was placed on select items being imported into the British Virgin Islands.

The duty-free order was implemented because of the September hurricanes and was scheduled to end on December 31.

The premier announced a possible extension to the customs duties waiver on imports yesterday, following calls from residents who claimed they needed more time to take advantage of the exemption.

“There are several reasons people are suggesting we renew it. For example – because of the delay in getting their payments from the insurance companies, it would take a little longer to order the materials,” said Premier Smith; adding that insurance companies have a big workload.

Persons are not required to pay import duties on items such as food, water, building materials, electrical fixtures and materials, plumbing fixtures and materials, clothing, vehicles, household furniture and appliances, pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, and other non-luxury items.

But the Premier said only select items might remain exempted if government decides to extend the no import duties order.

“The time will be coming up soon when we will have a look at it (customs duty exemption) again and make a determination as to what will be extended and for how long,” he said.

Dr Smith said residents were given a break from paying import duties because his government wanted persons to have a fair opportunity to replace property that was damaged or destroyed by the hurricanes.

The Premier also claimed that the ‘no import duties’ order will stimulate the territory’s economy.

“The more we can encourage that to happen where we can encourage [imports on] building supplies, where we can encourage them to get started [on rebuilding or repairing property], that in itself will add to jumpstart the economy. And that again will result in more revenues for government as well,” Dr Smith explained.

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