Budget 2017- Two per cent levy on foreign exchange transactions

The Barbados Government has slapped a commission on all foreign exchange transactions to safeguard the country’s foreign reserves.

Effective July 1, a broad based foreign exchange commission will be charged on all sales of foreign currency at a rate of two per cent.

This will affect all wire transfers, credit card transactions, and over the counter sale of foreign currencies.

In announcing the move, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said this measure was expected to raise an estimated $52.5 million over the remainder of the current financial year and $140 million over a full financial year.

Barbados’ foreign reserves stood at $749 million or 11 weeks of import cover at the end of last week.


47 Responses to Budget 2017- Two per cent levy on foreign exchange transactions

  1. Colette Felix
    Colette Felix May 30, 2017 at 6:46 pm


  2. Shanika Roberts Odle
    Shanika Roberts Odle May 30, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    All you did was drive up underground trade in currency

    • Cat Rock
      Cat Rock May 30, 2017 at 7:07 pm


    • John Everatt May 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      That underground trade in foreign currency is already here. It will increase exponentially with this announcement. The government will not be bringing in more revenue but to the contrary it will bring in less that it is now. Does anyone think that people will pay an extra 2% levy on exchanging Barbados currency for hard currency when they can easily avoid paying that? To think that this will produce more revenue for the government is not thinking clearly.

    • Michael Smart
      Michael Smart May 30, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      But how are you going to do that if the transaction requires the use of a wire transfer from the bank or using your credit card to shop on line?

  3. Nikolaos Yarde
    Nikolaos Yarde May 30, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Slow and resolute

  4. Nikolaos Yarde
    Nikolaos Yarde May 30, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Black market and hording

  5. Anthony Small
    Anthony Small May 30, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Then you vex with trump to imposed tax on money sending home get a life

  6. Nico HL Beckles
    Nico HL Beckles May 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    The only safeguard our foreign exchange needs to to keep the DLP far from it

    • Kym Reigns
      Kym Reigns May 30, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      we will find more ways to get it out

    • Nico HL Beckles
      Nico HL Beckles May 30, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      need to get them out. I love how this Government keeps changing people’s job requirement claiming the want to make sure people have the right qualifications but I never see Sinckler’s economics degree yet hell I doubt this jackass got POB at CXC

  7. Kym Reigns
    Kym Reigns May 30, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I can’t stand this man

  8. Tanya Jordan
    Tanya Jordan May 30, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    You cannot tax an economy into prosperity…smh

  9. Joy Waldron
    Joy Waldron May 30, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Undertakers going get more work. Not a boy getting fat now but government ministers. Lord help us

  10. Tricia Mondore
    Tricia Mondore May 30, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    This is f@#$ ked up, this is going to have a ripple effects on all goods and services.

  11. Seanstar Bradshaw
    Seanstar Bradshaw May 30, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I can’t believe it….don’t HV to go to business school to know its all over!

  12. Hellkat Sweetz
    Hellkat Sweetz May 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    We will soon be amongst the ordinary .. Oh forgot he will getting mp pension sigh

  13. Snowy
    Snowy May 30, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    None of this is gonna help bro if you idiots keep spending like you’re ballin’

  14. Buun May 30, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    He just devalued the Barbados dollar base on the purchasing power on the world markets. And that supposed to get us out of this mess? Reaaly now?

  15. Luci Johnson
    Luci Johnson May 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Dear god just what are they doing?

  16. Renz May 30, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    anybody selling any US?

  17. buckaroo May 30, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    “for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”

    A wise man once said.

  18. Glad May 30, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    Mia I ready to walk the streets in protest

  19. Michael Smart
    Michael Smart May 30, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Well given that bajans would kill you if you tell them you have to devalue the dollar by 2%, you decide to do it indirectly through this method because they would not know the difference. Smart move !

    • Caroline Clarke
      Caroline Clarke May 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      That’s not smart because like how you and I figured it out the rest of the island will find it out two

    • Michael Smart
      Michael Smart May 30, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      Well, based on some of these comments it does not appear that way!

  20. Rubertha Blackman
    Rubertha Blackman May 30, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    So you essentially putting people out of work well done dear leader

  21. Saga Boy May 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    You people dont have a clue about what you are taking about. How will large firms use the black market to acquire foreign currency to effect business transactions? If you are talking about traders taking cash out the island to buy goods for resale they have to account for the goods when they bring them in at sometime especially if gov is widening the tax net. There are limitations in terms on the amount of foreign currency they can use annually anyway. If Gov improved on the tax administration it will be good for all of us. Nothing is free. I welcome the widening of the tax net as well.

    • David Brathwaite May 30, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Saga Boy, your thinking is very limited. Money that is outside will stay outside. It’s not only about taking cash to pay for goods, which will only be a small part of the reaction. A good part revenue paid overseas may also not show up in Barbados, like many large foreign hotels already do now anyway.

      But most important, these taxes will be passed on to consumers so there will be a massive increase in the cost of living.

  22. Sean King
    Sean King May 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    This government knows that they are not getting back in power ,so they aint gonna ease no pressure on us now .Take it or lump it is the DLP Motto.

  23. Coleridge Best
    Coleridge Best May 30, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    U see there have no vision ,only a televisions how do there expect the people 2 survi

  24. Saga Boy May 30, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    David explain to me how the black market will facilitate the hotels of which you speak. Retailers, car companies and hotels set up companies overseas to purchase goods and then sell to their local companies in Barbados. It means that they make money two ways. They can invoice for the higher price and make extra money. This can cause a further drain of foreign currency. But it has nothing to do with the black market.

    • David Brathwaite May 31, 2017 at 4:27 am

      You describe the negative impacts so well, yet you support the policies. Can you explain that?

  25. Reco Boyce
    Reco Boyce May 30, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    I’m not to big on politics but these ppl just jucking out we eye dem raising every thing. Wdh dem don’t cut D politicians pay and see what happens

  26. Monica May 31, 2017 at 4:12 am

    All of us will be paying the two percent because the merchant will be passing it on in higher prices at the cas registers.

  27. jrsmith May 31, 2017 at 4:56 am

    As like everything which has failed in barbados from this present government , the people more effected are the ones who do the shouting and challenging each other , while the politicians sits back and smile,………..
    Where is the challenge , from the opposition party whats they take on this , they are no real difference they are all the same bad government worse opposition…….. frighten to give positive challenge ….. on the black masses behalf………………………..

  28. Ivana Cardinale May 31, 2017 at 9:10 am

    More taxes? This is the only thing he does, invent taxes that he ain’t paying. Soon he might say that we have to pay taxes for swimming on the beach. And I’m not kidding. Just in the last 2 years, Sinclker created new taxes out of the blue, and Barbadians complain and complain but do not act. Barbadians just take it, but until when?
    None of the decisions taken are consulted with the Barbadian people. The people have no voice in that Parliament, but has vote?

  29. Unknown May 31, 2017 at 9:46 am

    And this is my opinion with all the taxes that there clapping on why cant bajans get there tax return from since 2016.

  30. joan Worrell May 31, 2017 at 10:39 am

    jrsmith, I am breathing a breath of fresh air with your comment. The said same economists, apart from Jeremy Stephen, who all along were saying that Barbados must devalue the dollar in order to get it out of its economic hole are afraid to say that the measures which Sinckler took, are in effect a devaluation of the Barbados dollar. Yes, the measures are brutal but I want to hear the alternatives from the Opposition B.L.P. Don’t use any Donald Trump ploy, offering to do better but not giving specifics. Obama care was supposed to be a disaster. What has Trump replaced it with? I heard Ryan Straughn on the 7.30 news this morning . I am no economist but I had a little peep at economics as a young student. I did not hear Straughn say that Sinckler’s measures were Keynesian or neo-classical or Marxist or classical etc.. but a softer approach to avert economic disaster, would have been to use A or B or C. How the hell anybody can take these people seriously? Solutions Barbados, please come to our rescue. Owen Seymour, please come to our rescue. Lynette Eastmond, please come to our rescue. The two party system is killing us.

  31. Alvin May 31, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Bajans should switch to Bitcoin to do foreign transactions. Government and banks can’t control what you do on Bitcoin, it’s your own private bank.

  32. joan Worrell May 31, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I was in London late last year and wherever I went, starting at Heathrow, I saw ”Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin” but I never bothered my head to find out what it was all about because I travelled with my credit card and cash. May be you can tell readers of this column a little bit more about Bitcoin than how to evade the 2 % tax. Surely it serves purposes otherwise the British Government would have shut them down.

  33. joan Worrell May 31, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Above should read ‘Surely it serves other purposes otherwise etc. etc.”

  34. Humptey duncy May 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    so i a little slow on de maths. anybody know how much debt we will still have to pay after dey tax remittances, after dey cah up de price a gas, sell out government assets and de like?

    and i caan unerstan, de lotta long talk, wuh wanna doan get out pun de road and protest

    wuh wanna weigting fuh? Fuh Mia …lord have is mercy, where is wunna cojones. Fuh David Commissiong?

    wuh de 1000 ngos dat dey sey bout here doing?

  35. Barry June 1, 2017 at 9:58 am

    The problem with bitcoin at present is that the value fluctuates wildly – it is traded like a stock on the stock market and only a small percentage of the holders of bitcoin are actually using it to pay for goods and services. Only a limited number of merchants / manufacturers will accept bitcoin as a valid method of payment. So, if you buy 1 bitcoin today for $100 bds it could be worth $110 bds tomorrow, or it could be worth $90, depending on what the trading session looked like today, and your purchasing power will increase or decrease accordingly. That sort of volatility can cost much more than 2% commission, what makes it worse is that pundits believe the bitcoin market is in a bubble. It could come crashing down at any time – or it could continue to escalate to the sky – either way the value could easily change significantly over the short term future. US $ will not change at all… (he said, confidently trusting in his minister of finance to do what was required to maintain our peg!).. therefore purchasing power equally will not change between obtaining the currency and spending it.

    Bitcoin is the most ‘famous’ form of electronic currency based on something called “blockchain technology” which is far too complicated for me to understand, but the point is that there are other versions of bitcoin – including our own homegrown “Bitt” which is becoming more and more acceptable it seems to our central bank and our monetary authorities. If Bitt becomes linked to the BDS $ (purely my speculation here) then it could indeed be a viable alternative to the ‘normal’ foreign exchange that we all depend on so desperately to import 95% of what is currently consumed here in Barbados. Bitt would become the “airBNB” of foreign exchange for us Bajans… and no, I have nothing to do with the company, nor am I even friendly with the owners, this is my observation based on media reporting only.


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