BCCI: Taxes could drive businesses underground

One of the island’s leading businessmen is warning that the planned introduction of fees on foreign exchange transactions and a whopping increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) could have damning consequences for businesses and the country.

President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Eddy Abed said the taxes announced yesterday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler could  force some businesses to operate “underground” as they seek “alternative” means of operating, and drive some manufacturers out of Barbados.

“My fear is that the last few years have been so perilous and I am hoping that this does not drive more businesses underground. We have heard of several situations where businesses have gone underground,” Abed said this morning at the Hilton Barbados Resort where the BCCI and PricewaterhosueCoopers held a post-Budget breakfast seminar.

“If we keep doing these bridges and mountains more companies will look at alternative ways of doing business,” he warned.

In presenting the 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals Sinckler announced that in an effort to address the troubling fiscal deficit and the precariously low foreign reserves, Government would increase the NSRL from two per cent to ten per cent, and would impose a two per cent commission on foreign exchange transactions.

These measures are expected to earn Government $218 million and $52 million respectively in revenue for the current financial year, he said.

Meanwhile, Executive Chairman of Caribbean LED Lighting Inc Jim Reid expressed concern that the measures would lead to further uncertainty in the economy.

Reid accused the Freundel Stuart administration of seeking to “dampen the economy”, pointing out that some manufacturers had cast doubt on their ability to continue operating here as a result of the two per cent fee on foreign exchange transactions.

The local manufacturer said there were more questions than answers at this stage, and demanded clarity on the measure, saying his company exports over 70 per cent of the products it produces.

“We are a net foreign exchange earner and I would like to know how this two per cent is going to work,” he said.

In his Budget presentation yesterday, Sinckler said the main aim of the measures was to dampen the demand for foreign exchange as Government seeks to shore up the international reserves, which stood at approximately $749 million or 10.7 weeks of import cover at the end of March.

8 Responses to BCCI: Taxes could drive businesses underground

  1. Patricia Browne
    Patricia Browne June 1, 2017 at 12:50 am

    The pressure is real how long lord? How long

    • jennifer June 1, 2017 at 2:33 am

      Of course people/businesses are going to go underground with their dealings. These measures are not difficult if people just curb their UNNECESSARY spending. buy only what you need and begin again as a disenfranchised people to SHARE among each other. The elite of Barbados will do this as per usual. These governments have put the country where it is. The merchants keep getting fat and the masses keep staying where they are or going down.

  2. joan Worrell June 1, 2017 at 8:32 am


    Competition drives down prices. There is no competition for the curtain man who sells his curtains twice the price of the ones in St.Maarten, Trinidad, Puerto Rico , Florida and New York. If Bajans buy curtains overseas and put them in their luggage bags, the Barbados Customs officers tax them to bring them back in line with price of the ones at the curtain man. If laptops can be exempt from taxes, why can’t curtains be exempt? We are our own enemies, not the curtain man.

  3. Milli Watt June 1, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    business underground what bring out de ole money wunnah had store up……..ill gotten gain and put it back into the system. Abed why you don’t invest in manufacturing and stop being so mendicant

  4. Donild Trimp June 1, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Mr.Abed, you should stop complaining and make a concerted effort to pay the over $600 million in taxes you and your members
    owes to the Government Treasury.

    The entitlement mentality of all Barbadians (including you) must be eradicated if Barbados is to survive from becoming a failed state.

    Pay the Government the taxes you all owe and stop p[polluting the news with nonsense.

  5. Petra June 1, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    These idiots can’t fix a dead dog

  6. Alex Alleyne June 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    Yeah, things so bad that in the quest for relief a person will run to a BUTCHER thinking it’s a DOCTOR with full steam ahead.

  7. jrsmith June 1, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    @, Donild T, hail,hail, good shot on the button, but be careful the chosen protected ones you cant interfere with……. but not only taxes , loans given with out sign agreements the (Audit general’s ) Pass report and new information from him again the government is at it ………………………………………..


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