Owen: Not fair!

Ricky Jordan,

Added 30 December 2012


Warehouse chain Cost-U-Less is in line for major concessions when it opens in Barbados in the New Year. But while Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler sees nothing unusual about the concessions, Opposition Leader Owen Arthur is calling them “extraordinary and outrageous” and likely to give the store an unfair advantage over similar businesses in the distributive retail sector. Showing an April 13, 2011 letter from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs which he said he obtained Friday, Arthur said the document, which was copied to the Comptroller of Customs and Commissioner of Inland Revenue among others, listed exemptions from import duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on the importation of fittings, furniture, fixtures, equipment, construction material and supplies “for use exclusively in connection with the construction, development, sale and operation of the project”. It also listed import duty and VAT exemption on personal and household effects and vehicles of specialist expatriate staff, as well as exemption for 15 years from the payment of withholding tax on dividends and interest to shareholders, financial institutions and individuals making loans to the company.


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