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SBA Chairman pleads with Barbados gov’t to cut taxes

Declaring that the way business is conducted in Barbados must change urgently, Chairman of the Small Business Association (SBA) Neil Corbin is calling on Government to outline policies for the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) sector.

Such policies, he said, should seek to address matters that were threatening the survival of the businesses, including “unnecessary and unfair” taxes, rising fuel costs, the lack of ease in doing business, the cost of doing business, and the difficulties in accessing funding.

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Singling out the two per cent fee on foreign exchange transactions and the “extremely unfair and very controversial” Garbage and Sewage Contribution (GSC) levy, Corbin warned that if action was not taken over the coming months, a lot more MSME operators could go out of business.

He acknowledged that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, some businesses had to “fight” in order to innovate and keep their operations going, and he credited their determination, nimbleness and being able to respond quickly for their survival.

However, he said there must come a time when businesses are not made to “fight our way through every single thing . . . . It needs to be less of a struggle”.

Corbin said he was concerned that Barbados could go back to doing things the way it did prior to the pandemic, which could be detrimental.

“We cannot do things the same way. The world has changed and if we think that we are going to return to ‘the good ole days’, that is probably one of the most dangerous things we can think about to do at this time,” Corbin cautioned.

The SBA chairman said the MSME sector was in limbo as players awaited word from Government on its critical plans for the upcoming financial year, as well as if an International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme was likely to continue after the current one ends in seven to eight months’ time.

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“I think the past year has been very difficult because of COVID and also because of the IMF programme. It has led to tremendous austerity for the Small Business Association members and I would say for the population of Barbados on a whole . . . . We have not yet heard of the Government’s plan for the growth of the economy, and that makes it very, very difficult to do any kind of prediction in our planning because we don’t know what the policymakers are going to do,” said Corbin.

SBA appeals to gov’t to outline policies to address threats to businesses  Barbados Today


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