New taxes still coming
Government has not backed off its plan to introduce a suite of new taxes and will, in fact, go to Parliament in three weeks’ time for approval of the bills that will bring them into force.
That announcement came earlier today via a statement from the Ministry of Finance, and followed a newspaper report that the Freundel Stuart administration had scrapped its plan to levy a 15 per cent tax on lottery earnings above $100, 000.
While the ministry acknowledged delaying implementation in the wake of concerns from some industry players, it denied informing any business operator that the lottery tax was no longer being considered.
“The ministry examined those concerns, found some to be valid, and formally indicated to at least one major player that it had decided not to pursue the measure in its original form. The ministry, however, also took the decision that it would make necessary adjustments to the original proposal, allowing it to achieve the objectives which it set, and re-submit it to Parliament on the occasion of passage of the appropriate governing legislation, following Cabinet approval,” the ministry said.
It added that “finishing touches” were being put to the proposal, following which industry players would be informed.
According to the ministry, the Consolidation Tax, the tax on bank assets, and the Municipal Solid Waste Tax would be laid and debated in Parliament by early next month and would represent the “full legal implementation of the tax component of Government’s fiscal measures from 2013”.
The ministry said: “Additionally, the administrative arrangements for the implementation of reduction of VAT on direct tourism services were now complete, had been communicated to the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association, and the draft amendments to the VAT Act to support this were also expected to be moved in Parliament this month.”
It was disclosed that Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Christopher Sinckler would deliver a Ministerial Statement in Parliament during the first week of December on the progress of 19-month Fiscal Adjustment Programme, with particular focus on implementation of measures to reduce expenditure.
Earlier this week, economist Ryan Straughn told Barbados TODAY that Government needed to proceed with the adjustments and incentives announced in the last Budget Statement or risk losing the confidence of local and foreign investors.