Legislation to promote green energy is expected to be on the Order Paper of Parliament from this week, in the lead up to the debate which is expected to take place the week following the August 13, delivery of the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, made the disclosure at a press conference at the offices of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, during which it was also announced by an official of the Central Bank of Barbados, that as of July 15, there are new financing facilities in place in terms of renewable energy investments.
Sinckler said that Government has devised practical ways to build out the alternative energy sector through policy, legislation and fiscal incentives, which will ensure that in terms both of supply and demand, there are reasonable and cost effective solutions available.
“In the short term, our energy conservation activities are critical, but in the medium to long term, if we want to have a sustainable reduction in the amount of foreign exchange we spend on fuel oil, it would mean that we would have to employ strategies to build out a strong, vibrant and productive alternative energy sector,” he said.
With that in mind, he explained that the new legislation is predicated on a set of initiatives which were outlined in last year’s budget, but he said that it took some time to finalise the legislation because the Government wanted to ensure that it was as close to perfect as possible.
Giving some details about the pending legislation, Sinckler disclosed that they will provide ten-year tax holidays for any developer, manufacturer or installer of renewable energy systems and energy efficient products and this measure will be covered by the Income Tax Act.
“We will also be offering deductions of interest paid on any loans or other facilities… We will allow companies and eligible businesses to have a deduction of up to 150 percent on the amount of interest paid on the loan, on the facilities and of course those areas of particular interest will be defined in the legislation,” he said.
Additionally, the finance minister said that the legislation proposes a 150 per cent taxable income deduction for the marketing of any products or services that can be classified in the legislation as energy conservation or renewable energy production.
“As you know, research and development is absolutely critical in a sector like this… renewable energies have been around for a long time, but the thrust is now really taking root and beginning to spread its wings pretty far across the globe and across human, economic and social activity… and therefore we want as well to provide the similar 150 per cent deduction on taxable income or income earned, for those who participate in the research or development of alternative energy, whether on the conservation side or the producing side,” he said.
The Minister also announced that the come August 19, Government is also hoping to have a debate on the Electric Light and Power Act. Once those pieces of legislation are passed, he said that come September, there will be a complete suite of legislation in place to help reposition the Barbados economy and establish a complete renewable energy sector in this country.