Marla Dukharan has concerns about Mottley’s tax policies

Marla Dukharan tax
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Marla Dukharan has concerns about Mottley’s tax policies

Though largely welcoming Government’s budgetary measures announced on Monday, describing them as generally progressive and balanced, members of the private sector have expressed concern that some of the measures are regressive.

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Regional Economic Advisor Marla Dukharan commended the Mia Mottley administration on the tax measures she said were designed to help ease the cost of living.

However, she said where she disagreed with Government was on the Alternate Fuel Levy, which will be applied on vehicles not powered by diesel or gasoline at a rate of $25 per month or $300 per year, plus a rate of $0.02 per kilometre above a 15,000 km quota.

“I have to say I disagree with this approach. In the first place, it appears contradictory to me to apply various incentives for electric vehicles but then impose this special tax to compensate for the loss in tax revenue based on these very incentives,” said Dukharan.

“In order to address the shortfall in revenue earmarked for road repairs, why not increase taxes on those vehicles which do the most damage to our roads anyway, such as large commercial vehicles and excavators, for example? Furthermore, why not impose tolls to use certain roads and use that revenue specifically for road repairs?”

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The economist noted that the monitoring of the mileage clocked by electric vehicles could end up being “quite overcomplicated”.

Dukharan also questioned the rationale behind Government incentivising diesel-powered electricity generators, saying “it does not make sense especially in the current context of high fuel prices”.

“Perhaps the further incentivisation of private solar panel installation and private battery storage, for example, would have been a better option to ensure energy security and build resilience,” she said.

Calling for a more consistent approach to policymaking, Dukharan said “either we are incentivising a change in behaviour, which is a switch to a more sustainable life, or we are not”.

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In relation to the Pandemic Contribution Levy, which is applied at 15 per cent of the profits of businesses in some sectors, Dukharan said it was reasonable since the sectors identified were largely profitable and non-indigenous to Barbados.

Business community has tax concerns  Barbados Today

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