Costly rides

Vehicle imports cost Barbadians over $1 billion a year - Inniss

The automotive industry is costing the country over $1 billion a year in foreign exchange, according to Minister of Industry and Commerce Donville Inniss.

Inniss revealed last night that an average of 395 vehicles are imported every month at a cost of approximately $10 million.

When the cost of fuel, spare parts and other supplies are added, the cost to the country is enormous, he said.

“A lot goes in the vehicles we drive – we are currently spending in excess of $1 billion per year on importation [of vehicles], fuelling and operations of vehicles in Barbados,” Inniss told the official opening of the new Platinum Motors Inc headquarters in Fontabelle, St Michael last evening.

Quoting figures from the Barbados Statistical Service, the minister said over the past five years 22,691 vehicles were imported at a value $572 million, with the number of both new and used vehicles rising each year.

Last year alone, dealers brought in 2,673 new automobiles – a 28.2 per cent increase over 2015, while the number of used cars climbed to 2,078, up 18 per cent over 2015, which itself had recorded an even steeper 30 per cent increase over the 1,352 used cars imported in 2014.

“One may want to argue that the economy is on the way up and therefore Barbadians are buying more new vehicles. If that is the case, let me rejoice in the first part of it,” Inniss said.

He said while the economy was benefiting from associated import duties and taxes, it was important to recognize the impact the automotive business was having on the country’s foreign reserves.

However, Inniss made it clear he was not calling for restrictions on the importation of vehicles.

“I am not suggesting in any way, shape or fashion that we curb the importation of the vehicles, but rather that we remind ourselves of the need for us to earn foreign exchange and save it wherever possible in order that we can pay for these goods that we so desire. We cannot tax or borrow our way out of our circumstance. We simply have to earn our way out of it.

“I do not foresee any significant decline in expenditure on vehicles, all things being equal, in the short or medium-term. Therefore our task must lie in how we can earn the money to pay for the vehicles we own and operate,” he said.

Despite the fact that the country’s foreign reserves stood at the lowest level in 14 years last year, Inniss said there was no need for panic or for Barbadians to become irrational, although the purchase of the vehicles came with “a big chunk of our foreign reserves”.

He also called for greater support for the revenue earning sectors such as tourism and its related services and manufacturing.

Inniss gave the assurance that Government would allow Barbadians to continue to enjoy their choice of luxury while “from the states end we will do what we have to do to maintain that level of stability”.

18 Responses to Costly rides

  1. J. Payne January 27, 2017 at 5:32 am

    Not cheaper to buy from Brazil? Caribbean countries need to buy a some nuclear powered cargo ships so they form their own trade links in the Americas and elsewhere.

  2. harry turnover January 27, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Don.If most people are cutting back LET THOSE DEALERS CUT BACK TOO.
    Bring down that average to 190 or 200 UNTIL THINGS IMPROVE.
    You telling the small man to cut back this and cut back that,no increase in pay for some,more taxes and so forth and so on…tell them something too…..BUT…Don how much taxes wunna does get from that 1 billion a year…50 million plus or wha?

  3. Jennifer January 27, 2017 at 7:43 am

    “I am not suggesting in any way, shape or fashion that we curb the importation of the vehicles, but rather that we remind ourselves of the need for us to earn foreign exchange and save it wherever possible in order that we can pay for these goods that we so desire.”


    @harry turnover – The thing is the small man is the ENGINE they are the drivers. Maybe they should cut back and put all their A$$e$ out of business, from the restaurants, drink companies, to the dealers and keep our old cars. Band together and support each other.

  4. Jennifer January 27, 2017 at 7:44 am


  5. Peter January 27, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Won’t happen. Never happen. That is an industry unto itself. Govt. MUST have those taxes and high duties. Dealers like Courtesy Simpsons Motors, Nassco and MQI will complain vehemently. Jennifer, I have lots of strong connections in Sweden. Taxes are high yes but that country is very well developed. Trains and buses all run on time, I am closing on a property I bought there. Crime is low. Not the most friendly people because everyone minds their own business. I have friends there who earn over US$ 15,000.00 per month working with the airlines. Healt care is free with no long waiting. Yes they are having political issues but that place is great. So too is London, Oslo and Copenhagen.

  6. Khaki Samacho January 27, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Encourage alternatives ……. safe bicycle lanes, boardwalk inti Bridgetown, etc……. would ease the nightmare traffic, improve healthy lifestyle, reduce our national healthcare bills……………. but I doubt it will ever happen, take a look at our ‘healthy, sports-minded’ decision making politicians……. most over-weight & not physically fit to do a lap of the Garrison or ride up a hill or swim Carlisle Bay!

  7. Sam Pillie January 27, 2017 at 9:19 am

    It took Tom Adams no time when a recession was in sight to limit all imports, so as to save our foreign exchange and prevent Barbadians from suffering.
    However, it took the present government eight (8) years to think about controlling the foreign exchange while Barbadians suffer, and they are still disposing the foreign exchange to this day like all is well.
    A government with NO FINANCIAL VISION who care less for their people.

  8. Hal Austin January 27, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I know that Inniss is not the brightest spark in the barrel, but can he plse work out these costs.
    Imported vehicles pay taxation, and how can fuel, spares and other supplies be a cost to the taxpayer?
    Apart from the fact that if Inniss can understand the economics of foreign reserves then it must be voodoo, is the best financial economics that an MBA can come up with? Or is he suggesting that we should not pay for imports?
    Sadly, our journalists never seem to question figures from officials.

  9. Marva January 27, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Improve the bus service and you are likely to see a decline in imports. I spend so many woman hours at bus stops and have to forgo many opportunities for extra work because I have to rely on public transport, that I have decided to buy a car. This is cry of many people who stand at bus stops with me. They say if i could scrape two cents together they would but a car. Leaving home way earlier that would otherwise be necessary to reach one’s destination and coming home hours way hours later, gives us bus rage; and it seriously affects our family life… too little time to help with home work and caring of children etc. So we say we will scrape and buy a car. i bet the minister and his wife has one each and any grown children has one as well. He is stop short but hinting a reduction.

  10. Jennifer January 27, 2017 at 10:31 am

    @Hal – then they also put figures spread all over the place in the article instead of a well detailed table format, just to confuse and mislead people.
    @Marva – agreed. I spend lots on Diesel to get to and from my slave house/prison, when a bus would be more cheaper.

  11. Hal Austin January 27, 2017 at 10:49 am

    J. Payne,
    At the time of the Federation the British gave the Federation three ships to improve trade between the islands, where are they?

  12. Jennifer January 27, 2017 at 11:07 am

    @Peter – Did you not see the leaked email by John Podesta to Killary Clinton on Wikileaks???? Sweden is one of the countries to go under water.

    • Peter January 27, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Jennifer. I bet you never visited Sweden. It’s a well developed large country with technology so advanced it’s unbelievable. Wikileaks is just what it says. purposeful and fabricated lies well buttered up for small minds like yours. You failed miserably. in every aspect of life. Stop complaining.

  13. Mikey January 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Hal again !!!
    Please go to an optometrist, get your eyes checked and get some eye-glasses . The word “country” is not spelt “taxpayer”.
    Fuel, spareparts etc. are a cost to the country because they are not manufactured in Barbados and have to be purchased with Foreign Exchange !!! This time, go to the back of the class, face the wall and write 100 times, alternating pencil and ink, Capital and Common letters, “At this stage of my life, I should not be so foolish, but can be excused for being visually challenged”.
    Afterwards, take a “Teacher’s Detention”.

  14. Hal Austin January 27, 2017 at 5:40 pm


    What is a cost? I am not surprised, since the voodoo economics of foreign reserves is confusing most Barbadians. At this stage in my life I should not be so foolish as to take you seriously. Have a nice day.

  15. Alex Alleyne January 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Donville, a top person from JAPAN was just here , did you had a talk with him and discuss about all the $$$$$ that flowing out of BIM and what his Country has to offer BDS in return ????.

  16. BaJan boy January 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    Putting a ban on imported cars for cars for 2 years would obviously then save us 2m in foreign exchange. That is if 1+1 are 2 in the Dems calculation. Does’nt need a to Solomon to realize that. In 2 Years the foreign reserves would be up and you give each car dealer a quota to control out put. When they reach it they cannot import for the remainder of that financial year..Daaahhhhhhh…

  17. Hal Austin January 30, 2017 at 4:33 am

    Bajan Boy,
    Tell that to Simpson. Which dealers are offering 100 per cent loans to buy new cars?


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