UPP Administration will assist vulnerable households, small businesses and farmers with water storage, Pringle promises

The United Progressive Party (UPP) has released more details about its ‘WATER’ Programme, through which it intends to bring some relief to the vulnerable, if elected at the next general elections.

In a release issued on Monday afternoon, the UPP says it recognizes that a permanent fix for the water challenges will not be achieved within days or months of taking office.

“However, while it works toward long-term solutions, it believes that other measures should be taken to [assist] low-income families, small farmers and small businesses.”

Therefore, a UPP Administration will immediately introduce its Water Tank and Equipment Relief (WATER) Programme.

For retailers and service providers who register with the WATER Programme, the Party promises to remove all taxes related to the importation of water-storage tanks, water pumps, pressure tanks, and electrical and plumbing fixtures for a period of 12 months.

Over two years, the release says, the UPP Administration will make a minimum of $5 million available to the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank (ABDB), specifically for low-interest WATER loans.

Households that earn less than $4,000 monthly; small businesses earning less than $10,000 a month; and bona fide farmers will be eligible to apply.

In order to ensure professional-grade work, Pringle says, loan recipients will select from a list of bank-approved contractors to set up their water-collection and distribution systems.

The bank will then make direct payment to retailers and service-providers.

The Party says the WATER Programme is “a win-win situation that allows eligible households, small businesses, and small farmers to access loan funds at very affordable rates and over reasonable repayment periods.”

The UPP says the initiative is, itself, an economic stimulus, intended to provide a certain amount of business – and guaranteed payment – for the registered retailers and service-providers.  Additionally, it provides capitalization and a wider customer base for the Development Bank.

The initiative will be developed in collaboration with the Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority (ABIA), the Party states.