Business operators still banking on tax refunds
Business operators here have identified the delay in issuing tax refunds and other payments in the public sector, as well as high energy costs as the top three financial problems they are experiencing in Barbados.
And they want those issues to be addressed in 2015 sessions of Parliament.
This finding was contained in two recent surveys, which showed that the confidence level among business operators generally remains low and majority of them do not believe that there will be economic recovery before another three to four years.
In the Survey of Economic Expectations, 55 per cent of the respondents indicated that the delay in issuing tax refunds was a financial problem experienced by their business.
Forty-four per cent cited the delayed payments from public sector, while 46 per cent cited energy costs.
Other notable problems were payments from the private sector, the lending environment and source of capital, workers’ compensation costs and onerous collective agreements.
Almost 77 per cent of the participants indicated that the national economic performance was a serious constraint. This was followed by declining demands, price pressure from consumers and competitors, as well as rising overhead and utility costs.
In the Business Outlook survey firms identified regulation and paperwork as well as cash flow and debtors as “the important problem” facing their operations. This was followed by low turnover.
Respondents represented a range of sectors including manufacturing, agriculture, financial services, construction, health, transportation and technology. The surveys, which were conducted by the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) in collaboration with ABELIAN Consulting Services, were designed to “provide a snapshot of business opinions regarding the expected future state of their business, their industry, their economic sector and the overall Barbados economy”.
About 45 per cent of the respondents in the Survey of Economic Expectations described their economic outlook on the national economy as “somewhat pessimistic”; 21 per cent said they were very pessimistic; 20 per cent were neutral and only 14 per cent were somewhat optimistic. No one was very optimistic.
However, despite the low confidence level, about 46 per cent of the businesses were expecting to increase their revenue, 36 per cent expected revenues to be maintained and 18 per cent expected revenues to decrease.