Members of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party, led by Opposition leader Mia Mottley (front, right) going into the House of Assembly for the reply to the budget. (Picture by Nigel Browne)
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THE FOLLOWING are some of the key issues addressed by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley in the House of Assembly today in her reply to the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
During the three-hour statement, the leader of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) touched on leadership, the six “failed economic policies” presented by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler and some of the solutions a BLP government would put in place.
Mottley said the lack of leadership was the fundamental problem affecting Barbados and it was frustrating progress.
She asked where the $481 million in taxes would come from and said budget after budget, people were being asked to make sacrifices.
Mottley said yesterday’s budget was an “effective, defacto devaluation” of the Barbados dollar and would not have the effects the Minister of Finance hopes to achieve.
- The Opposition Leader said a combination of the increase in the excise tax and the National Social Responsibility Levy would drive up the amount of Value Added Tax on gas and instead of paying $3.05 per litre, gas would increase to $3.29 while diesel would now cost $2.42 per litre.
- She said the Minister of Finance had presided over the biggest decline in tourism in Barbados’ history and the country “struggled” to reach $2B in tourism revenue last year.
- She noted the Minister announced a Tourism Industry Relief Fund (TIRF) with $25M, but that there were $81M in claims and had made no effort to meet them.
Mottley said a BLP government would enact legislation to ensure the printing of money to finance government debt did not happen.
They would restore credibility and independence to institutions of government.
They would repeal the Barbados Revenue Authority Act.
They would seek to accelerate the process of applying for and acquiring various licences.
A BLP Government would rethink state enterprises in such a way that ordinary Barbadians would be able to participate in their management and administration.
She said they would pass legislation to reclaim land in Barbados in the way of Pelican Islands and reclaim 20 acres in the Port.
Mottley said one of their goals was for Barbados to become the first fossil fuel free country by 2030.
She also said if a power purchase agreement was signed with Canadian company Deltro, a BLP government would order a forensic audit. (SAT)