Too much at risk
The following is a statement from Andy Armstrong who is president of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry statement on tomorrow’s Budget.
While the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is aware that the Government has had to make some hard decisions on the revenue side, it posits that our growth strategies must be carefully thought out, otherwise we can end up damaging the same growth we seek to achieve particularly in the retail and tourism sectors.
We must stress that we do not want to dampen economic activity since there is too much risk if prices continue to rise and disposable income continues to fall at this time.
We make a strong request to expand the zero-rated basket of goods, for there to be exemptions from Value Added Tax (VAT) on electricity for the more vulnerable, a call for an adjustment to the income tax threshold or a reduction of the base rate, as well as the speeding up of VAT returns to decrease the significant impact of cash flow difficulties experienced by many small and medium-sized companies.
Barbados has a goal to become one of the “greenest” countries in the world. Due to escalating energy prices, which are cutting across many sectors, the BCCI believes the Government should consider providing a number of incentives towards increased energy conservation by increasing tax allowances for solar photovoltaic systems to reflect actual cost of setting up a household system, among other things.
Legislation passage and the time it takes for proclamation continue to be of concern for the BCCI. We are calling for at least two particular pieces to be sped up and/or revised, as they have implications for increased exports, increased investment and employment. They are the sanitary and phyto-sanitary legislation and the Special Development Areas Act.
There are several outstanding issues surrounding the Customs Department which have an adverse impact on the facilitation of business whose solution requires the redirection of resources.
We recommend that Government develops and implements a comprehensive e-government strategy where the electronic media can be utilized to the maximum, leading to increased productivity.