Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association Lynette Holder is fearful of the damaging impact the tax measures could have on the country’s entrepreneurs
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 15, 2017 – Wary of the dreaded July 1 implementation of a number of tax measures, small businesses in Barbados are mobilizing forces to send a strong message to Finance Minister Chris Sinckler.
In his 2017 Budget delivered last month, Sinckler announced a 400 per cent increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which climbs from two per cent to ten per cent; a two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions; and increases to the excise duty on gasoline and diesel.
Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association Lynette Holder is is fearful of the damaging impact the tax measures could have on the country’s entrepreneurs, and she told online newspaper Barbados Today it’s an issue that requires a united response from her members.
She said the executive has set a meeting with members next Monday to reach consensus on a national response.
“We very well will need to get a mandate from our membership relative to a national response on this issue. We have to go to our membership and say, ‘well members, this is the reality and we need to get a mandate from you’,” Holder said.
She added that her organization was not alone in its attempt to stave off the impact, revealing that other private sector organizations were mobilizing their membership to formulate a collective response.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler stood his ground that the measures were reasonable, stressing that the Government had engaged in weeks of consultations.
“We looked at all the options and I laid out those in the Budget. Some of them are quite far more draconian than we have chosen, so we have put options on the table and said, ‘what are the ones we are going to pursue?’ And I understand the reaction. Austerity is never easy. It is painful. Nobody relishes or holds a party when they hear there is austerity because it means there is going to be some pain,” he said.
“The question is, if you don’t do that, what are the alternatives? The alternatives are much worse. We can lose jobs, we can continue to lose value in our economy, suffer more downgrades, find ourselves in a position where we can’t pay our debts, social services continue to deteriorate and then we are forced in a position where we have to take even harsher decisions.
“My view is that we have to weigh everything in the balance and see the ones that can achieve your objective with less disruption as possible,” the Minister of Finance said.
Sinckler, however, assured that he remains open to dialogue with any concerned group.
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