DLP COLUMN: Dems good for Barbados
The 2012 Budget presented by Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler demonstrated a delicate balance between reality and demands.
The minister delivered a series of measures: a reduction in personal tax rates to 17.5 per cent for the first income band; the imposition of a national greening levy; the adjustments in the taxation of the international business sector; the announcement of immigration policy for high net worth individuals; the divestment by public offering of certain Government-owned entities such as the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc., Barbados Port Inc. and Barbados National Oil Company; an increase in the rate of rebate of land tax for pensioners from 50 per cent to 60 per cent; the introduction of incentives for listing on the Junior stock exchange; and the investment of the National Insurance Scheme’s funding for strategic purposes.
Our Budget was a response to the need for containment while seeking to stimulate growth. We listened during the consultations with all of the partners. We identified a number of policy initiatives across the key sectors. Tourism and international business were paid special attention as we attempted to maintain market share in a highly competitive global economy. The forecast in 2013 from leading international institutions all converge on reduced demand and growth in the global economy.
These forecasts have not daunted the need for our state to be responsible in progressive thinking. There can be no better expression than the attempt to encourage all Barbadians to get involved in generating their own electricity. A number of incentives were offered to nurture a culture of renewable energy needs.
These incentives were offered to people and businesses generating and distributing electricity from a renewable energy source, or producing, distributing and/or installing renewable energy systems for electricity generation and energy efficient products. This package included loans at low interest, value added tax and duty exemptions, tax holidays, marketing and product development supply.
Our society is not alone as many nations across the world must design the architecture that best fits their local need. We have never subscribed to a policy of one shoe fits all. We have taken careful note of the predicted price of US$110 a barrel for oil going into 2013 by the World and Economic Financial Surveys 2012. The input into almost every sector, including households, will be impacted by oil prices.
It is within this context that the state has taken the lead in creating the investment climate necessary for the transformation in attitudes towards renewable energy. We have heard what the Opposition’s solution is to the problems plaguing our economy. Money!
The presentation by co-leader Mia Mottley, who seems to have found her political groove, smacks of electioneering. The Barbados Labour Party presented an alternative package of just under a billion dollars in incentives. They fell short of rolling out the austerity measures needed to raise such revenue. The intended effect of their alternative Budget fell flat.
Arthur’s attempt to intellectualize the debate only demonstrated that he has read but not learnt anything new. Thus most Barbadians are convinced now more than ever that the Dems are good for Barbados!
l Douglas Leopold Phillips is a pseudonym for the Democratic Labour Party.