Chatrani: Tax will turn away investors
Tourism stakeholders are warning the Freundel Stuart administration that its new Municipal Solid Waste Tax will be a barrier to economic recovery efforts and a further deterrent to investment.
President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Sunil Chatrani is putting the Government on notice that if the already “struggling” hospitality sector is forced to pay the new tax, it would not be able to lead the country back to economic recovery.
Chatrani said in a statement that the levy, which is being imposed on the site value of properties that generate waste, will also effectively make Barbados less competitive as a tourism destination.
“This sector will bear the brunt of the tax at a time when it is currently seeking financial relief in the form of promised duty free concessions that are yet to be received.
“Nevertheless, we have continued performing on an uneven playing field for several months now with the understanding that these concessions are forthcoming,” the BHTA president said.
He noted that due to the nature of the hospitality business, most of the real estate is owned by the operators who, in order to remain competitive, make substantial reinvestments in their properties.
“Yet, while we continue to improve our product and increase the land value, we are being penalised for our improvements.
“In some cases, this new tax is a few hundred thousand dollars, with no consideration for the fact that the investors more or less, help to create the land values in those areas due to the significant levels of their investments,” pointed the BHTA leader.
“As an export sector,” Chatrani added,”we remain committed to our role in this economic recovery programme and will continue to do our part. However, we need the tools in order to be able to do the job effectively and we simply cannot afford punitive input taxes of this nature.”
He is suggesting that if Barbados is to regain its competitive position in the Caribbean, significant reinvestments are required to bring the local product up to standard in this heavily capitalised tourism sector, which is already struggling financially.