DLP suggests parliamentarians pay higher rate pandemic levy
The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) has challenged parliamentarians to give up four per cent of their salaries as some Barbadians prepare to pay the one per cent Pandemic Contribution Levy announced in Monday’s national budget.
“It’s the only right thing to do,” declared the DLP’s third vice president Ryan Walters as he delivered the party’s response to the 2022/2023 Financial and Economic Statement at a virtual forum on Tuesday evening.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that effective April 1, workers earning more than $6 250 monthly or $75 000 annually will pay the tax at a rate of one per cent of their income, for one year.
In addition, companies in the telecommunications and commercial banking sectors, the retail sale of petroleum products and general and life insurance, with a net income above $5 million in 2020 and 2021, will also have to pay the levy at 15 per cent of their net income from July.
The Pandemic Contribution Levy is projected to earn $120 million.
In the more than hour-long assessment Walters, who described the new tax as “a step backwards”, argued that it was “a definite flaw in how this Government is planning to deal with the current issues of the day”.
“We could have earned that revenue someplace else. So we have another income tax on these people who have their livelihoods too. You can’t say because a man earns ‘X’ amount of money that you can afford one per cent. Well, let the MPs take out four per cent of their salaries because that is the only right thing to do.
“If somebody is earning $6 250 a month and can pay one per cent, a senior minister and a Deputy Prime Minister can afford four per cent,“ he said.
Walters further warned that businesses will pass on the 15 per cent levy to consumers and questioned whether Government had another reason for imposing the tax.
He said: “Is that a start to move up the corporation tax in anticipation of the global minimum tax rate? And what tha will mean for us who have to patronise these businesses?”
The DLP official proceeded to chastise Government for other measures, including the cap on the Value Added Tax (VAT) that will see gas being retailed at $3.99 per litre and diesel at $3.32 per litre effective midnight Wednesday.
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