Suriname devalues currency, annouces tax hikes

Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:06am GMT

* Suriname devalues currency 16.4 percent

* Hikes on gasoline, alcohol, sales taxes

By Ank Kuipers

PARAMARIBO, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Suriname on Thursday devalued its local currency by 16.4 percent and announced tax raises on alcohol, tobacco, gasoline and basic services as the government sought to offset the impact of payments of overdue public worker salaries.

Suriname's central bank late on Wednesday said it would devalue the official exchange rate to 3.35 Suriname dollars to the U.S. dollar from the previous rate of 2.80 Suriname dollars. The measure came into effect on Thursday.

The government recently announced it would pay long overdue public worker salaries, raising concern over the impact on the local economy.

Vice President Robert Ameerali on Thursday announced the tax increases, including 50 percent tax increase on alcohol and tobacco and a 2 percent sales tax hike.

Some tax hikes must be approved by the country's legislature.   Continued...

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