BCCI to Govt: Collect road tax at the gas pump
A suggestion is coming from the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) that Government collect road tax at the fuel pumps, rather than ask drivers to make a lump sum payment every year.
The recommendation came out of a recent BCCI members’ forum.
President Tracey Shuffler, who reported on the recommendations at the BCCI’s monthly luncheon at the Hilton Resort today, said going that route would ensure compliance, eliminate the cost and inconvenience of traditional payment, be more equitable relative to road usage and would allow different rates to be applied to non-commercial and commercial vehicles.
She said there was also a call for a portion of the savings from the drop in oil prices to be used for the benefit of renewable energy development.
“Of the expected savings in oil import costs this year, if one third of that savings was allocated to alternative energy and energy efficiency development, the additional green energy investment of approximately $35 million could go a long way toward Barbados’ goal of 29 per cent renewable energy by 2029. We dare say with the efforts of all national stakeholders, we are very likely to reach that benchmark long before 2029,” said Shuffler.
There was also a recommendation that Government allow business operators to make a wider range of payments online.
“The financing of health care and education was also a topic of discussion at our Forum. While subsidization by Government is being reined in, mechanisms to facilitate and encourage savings for co sharing of costs by individuals in these areas should also be developed. A reasonable tax break on savings instruments dedicated to financing for health and education will be important as Barbadians are asked to take on a portion of costs for these services. A healthy and educated populace will always be a critical part of this country’s sustainable development, so these are issues which should be addressed,” said Shuffler.
Meantime, Shuffler reported that the BCCI had seen some success in its attempts to alleviate some of the problems which members faced.
Among those challenges was the recently introduced charge for inspecting containers on business premises after traditional working hours. Shuffler said that had been rescinded.
“We also welcome the recent agreement by the BADMC [Barbados Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] to retain the much less bureaucratic and more trade facilitating process of licensing for importation of poultry products, rather than their initially proposed movement toward exclusive state trading of this commodity,” she further reported.
The BCCI head said members were looking at solutions at other problems.
“The cash flow challenges in Government relative to payment for goods and services and VAT refunds are having a domino effect on business cash flows and while resolution to this issue may not be immediately clear, we cannot surrender to current circumstance. There has to be a solution and we have to make progress in securing relief,” she said.