Budget wish list

Bajans express mixed views on tomorrow’s financial plan

If Executive Director of the Barbados Manufacturers’ Association (BMA) Bobbi McKay had her way, hoteliers would not get access to available concessions unless they first put out requests for tenders and utilize local manufactured goods.

And McKay is hoping that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler will see things her way when he makes Tuesday’s Budget presentation.

“I want them to make sure that at the end of the day when hoteliers are refurbishing, like they were this year, that in order to qualify for all the incentives they have, they have to first and foremost put out requests for tenders,” said McKay, who believes this would generate increased employment.

She also said it would put manufacturers in a better position to know “who is doing what and how they can approach the different companies.

“If they have to advertise in the newspapers and announce that they are refurbishing and looking for tenders, that would allow a lot of people not only to have work, but some people would be able to add shifts, and that is huge,” McKay said.

In the meantime, ordinary Barbadians have also been sharing their wish lists ahead of Tuesday’s presentation by Sinckler, who has already made it clear there will be no pre-election giveaways with a national poll due here within months.

“You can’t give away what you don’t have,” Sinckler recently warned, as he spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a fun day held for students from his St Michael North West constituency who had just completed the 11-plus exam.

“We are a responsible Government and this is a country and we will do what circumstances dictate in the environment that we are in,” he added at the time.

His comments came amid lingering concerns about the state of the island’s foreign reserves that were said to have risen slightly from $681 million last December to $705.4 at the end of the first quarter of this year.

The country’s fiscal deficit also ended the financial year at an estimated six per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), higher than the projected 5.8 per cent, while gross Government debt, which requires servicing to the tune of over $300 million annually, also remained high at 105.4 per cent of gross domestic product, but slightly better than the 108.6 per cent for the corresponding period last year.

‘De Mayor’

In support of Sinckler’s comments, one man who identified himself as De Mayor said: “I don’t believe there is nothing you can do in these circumstances.

“We have to stabilize the economy, so we can’t expect no giveaways, no free things,.’

He suggested that even though Barbadians were crying out, “I believe things still good in Barbados”.

“If you compare a lot of other countries to Barbados, things still good here, but we like a lot of complaining. People don’t understand that we don’t have no real resources, the resources are the people. We also have to import,” he said, while stressing that “we have to live within our means”.

However, 46-year-old Patrick Thomas is still hoping for a salary increase.

Patrick Thomas

“I would love a raise of pay. That is what I’m talking about the Budget, plus I didn’t get my income tax return. I would like that too. So I hope them talk about it tomorrow inside the House of Assembly,” he told Barbados TODAY just outside Parliament building.

Thomas also made clear his frustration with the current Freundel Stuart administration, saying, “I would like to change the Government. That is the biggest thing I want to see. Change the Government. If they change the Government I feel I will get all my money.”

Another Barbadian, Al Harte, is eager to learn how Government intends to reduce its spending.

“I want to know first things first. What they are going to do, if they are going to lower the prices or raise them?

“They talking about bus fares. I don’t know about that part . . . [but] whatever happens I think the people in Barbados does spend too much so I hope that when the Budget call we can spend less.”

However, Mark Adamson, who is the leade of the little-known People’s Democratic Congress, is not at all optimistic that the pending budgetary measures will redound to the needed economic growth.

“Barbados is on a very downward trajectory and the types of policies and measures required, the minister will not have the understanding to actually bring [them] about,” he told Barbados TODAY.

One woman, who requested anonymity, complained that in the face of the island’s economic troubles, Barbadians had only themselves to blame since in her estimation they were too focused on their wants instead of their needs.

“It’s all about the Remy. The girls buying hair, the Crop Over events, all the reggae shows and everything; the big houses, everything big, but them ain’t seeing that we got an expense here,” she said.

Therefore, “if Chris Sinckler give us a Budget with [increased Value Added Tax] VAT and taxes everything, we deserve it because we Bajans caused it on ourselves. The Crop Over events and the reggae shows, we cause it on ourselves. Peter pays for Paul and Paul pay for all,” she emphasized.

Source: (AGB)

6 Responses to Budget wish list

  1. Peter May 30, 2017 at 8:54 am

    This is yet another long winded report. Bobbi McKay said this and she said that. Local furniture manufacturers are complaining. Their cost to outfit a hotel room with furniture is more than ten times the cost of importing a better quality product that is more modernly styled. Then when anything is broken, the local manufacturer takes four weeks to collect it, six weeks to repair it and another two weeks to return the supposedly fixed item. In addition, the hotel has to pay a rent or a storage fee. Instead od holding one annual trade exhibition showat a cost, Why don’t Bobbi come up with a decent marketing plan to help her members dhowcase their stuff? Here’s an idea Bobbi. That huge useless building that once housed JB’s Master-mart, can be converted into a permanent trade exhibition complex. where about one, to two hundred individual well appointed booths be rented to members to exhibit and showcase their broad spectrum of products an all inclusive rent of BDS $ 1,000.00 per month minimum no VAT added. Photo voltaic panels can be affixed to its roof to greatly reduce electrical charges. Now let’s look at the financial zone of such. 150 booths, all filled will earn the BMA $150,000.00 per month Manufacturers will subsidize their expenses through sales. The exhibition center will be opened 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to let’s say 10:00 p.m. Come Bobby let’s push our efforts a little further. really help your members to promote and showcase and sell their products to botyh local and overseas entities. bearing in mind that a lot of overseas buyers cannot travel to your annual trade show.

    Reply
  2. Milli Watt May 30, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I liking Bobbi real yeah……..my kinda woman. These hotels are owned by a select group of Barbadians and foreigners. I tried a staycation NEVER AGAIN!!!! price was not reflective of the off season and dey want to treat you as if yuh begging. Minister stop spending my tax dollars on YUH LOUSY FRIENDS IN DE HOTEL INDUSTRY

    Reply
  3. Peter May 30, 2017 at 10:49 am

    The Hotels are owned by their rightful owners. This is a democracy and NO ONE can tell you Mili Watt what yo buy and where to shop. You Watty, do not seem to have one iota as to the expensed related to running a hotel at a profit. Let me lis some for you. There is marketing. the HTI- Hotel Travel Index charges over US$ 30,000.00 for a full page full cover. There are production charges. advertising agencies costs, and the hoteliers are restricted to the use of the advert. as the ad agency have ownership rights. Management and staff expenses, Security, electrical, water, telephone, other staff such as maids and housekeeping, insurances all kinds of insurances, Gardening and building maintenances and these include plumbing, electricians, carpentry and general building maintenance such as painting etcetera, Land Tax, and licenses, kitchen operations from food supplies to cooks, to waiters to bar stocks, the works, On top of all these, there are Associations dues, and many other peripheral charges so before you jump to conclusions and push your foot in your mouth, Think. I have stayed at hotels abroad with room rates ranging from US$ 50.00 to over US $ 3600.00 per room night. At the end of the day, Business goes where it is invited and stays where ti is well treated. I may have had my expenses paid for by my company but I look for quality services becau7se says where I shall be staying again.I li8ke Bobbi Mckay too I am so happy she overcame her adversity or illness and is continuing to progress. I just believe the BMA casn do more for its members as part of their national purpose of being in existence.
    Old Chinese proverb say… ” Good thing no cheap, cheap thing no good.” digest that.

    Reply
    • Milli Watt May 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

      @ Peter you got a hotel owner name but the Auditor General Trotman stated that Government’s advance to the BTII stood at $141.5 million, with accrued interest of $19.3 million, while no repayments were received from that agency during the year under review. They are parasites and need to stop using tax dollars to maintain a questionable consumption lifestyle.

      Reply
  4. Peter May 30, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Milli Watt, If that’s all you see then they should ALL shut down and we’ll see who deserves what. I say our hoteliers are over taxed among other things but the argument is in this a 50 year old Democracy they MUST have a freedom of choice to buy their stuff wherever and whenever they choose. You talk about Auditor General report. How many Government sectors Do NOT file ans adhere to their report. Your wattage is very small man.

    Reply
  5. Kim Marshall May 30, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    “If Chris Sinckler give us a Budget with [increased Value Added Tax] VAT and taxes everything, we deserve it because we Bajans caused it on ourselves. The Crop Over events and the reggae shows, we cause it on ourselves. Peter pays for Paul and Paul pay for all,”

    Could people please stop painting all Barbadians with the same brush?! Why is it that every time people say Barbadians are not suffering we are told the reason this is true is because lots of us are in Kadooment bands, going to Reggae on the Hill and Crop Over events? When did these things become the standard as evidence for doing well and who chose these three?

    If VAT is increased, is the reason for doing this going to be to teach all Barbadians a lesson about living within their means?

    Reggae and Crop Over shows do not have the entire population attending them and jumping in bands is done by less than six percent of our population so who would this lesson be for?

    Many Barbadians are living within their means and are cutting back in many ways and saying nothing……you do not hear them on a call-in-program; no letters to the editor, they are simply doing their best with what they have. These Barbadians are not going to shows, buying weave, going to the supermarket every week and buying trolleys of groceries and all the other things I am hearing be put forward over and over again as evidence that people are not suffering in this country.

    What needs to be seen to make anyone believe that people in this country are hurting and it is not because we are all living above our means? Do we need to see starving children in the street with flies all over their faces? More homeless people in our towns? What will it take for anyone to admit that life is indeed tough right now in Barbados and not be instantly seen as anti-Government for simply stating what is true for you and your family?

    Reply

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