Holder: Not so fast PM

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s call for laws to compel self-employed Barbadians to make contributions to the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), has been slammed as “highly irresponsible” by Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder.

In fact, Holder has suggested that if anyone is to blame for the current level of arrears to the State, it is Government itself, which by its very policies, has drastically affected the ability of the self-employed to pay there NIS contributions.

“Any time you see small business persons or self-employed persons struggling to pay taxes it is not because they are evil minded or ill-intentioned,” assured Holder.

“The reality though is that small businesspersons have been struggling in this current climate,” she added.

Addressing the NIS’ 50th anniversary awards ceremony at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Saturday, Stuart described the matter of coverage of the self-employed as “a challenge”, which “still needs further analysis and urgent attention”.

He stressed that for the past years any attempt at persuasion of such persons to join the NIS programme “has produced only modest results”.

“Self-employed persons must be convinced of the need to register and make sure that they can access the benefits when necessary,” he said.

“I am aware that several self-employed persons, and many in the informal sector, operate on a seasonal basis, but this is simply no excuse for non-payment since the threshold for payment is low,” the Prime Minister said.

In an impassioned response, Holder told Barbados TODAY that Barbadians by nature not only generally law abiding, but prepared to pay their fair share of taxes.

However, she expressed concern that the Stuart administration was not concentrating enough on fixing the macro-economic issues facing the country but was instead attempting to vilify the small businessperson.

“Instead of these pronouncements that we are hearing from politicians about sending out a task force and rounding up people and all sorts of nonsense, what we should be focusing on in my view is fixing the macro-economic realities. We should be concentrating on improving the economy and getting it to a growth path, ensuring that we have an enabling environment that businesses can find their niche areas and be competitive.

“I put it you that if you put the policies in place for businesses to grow, they would contribute, they will do it,” said Holder, in reference to the austerity measures announced by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his recent Budget.

Several business people have strongly criticized the measures, which include a 500 per cent increase in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), predicting increased layoffs and insolvency within the private sector when the measures take effect at the beginning of July.

In addition, the small business spokeswoman is also contending that if businesses were paid the Value Added Tax (VAT) returns owed to them, they would be more than able to meet any outstanding statutory obligations.

“We get the calls every conceivable week from members who are owed VAT returns. If you have small and medium enterprises that are unable to get their VAT returns – Government owes them $40,000 or $50,00 and climbing on a monthly basis – do you really think with economy in the way it is that they are going to find the cash flow to meet all of their expenses and requirements on a monthly basis?” she asked.

“So when I hear these pronouncements I wonder really why is the plan to put this message in the atmosphere that is really irresponsible? It is really irresponsible in my view. Fix the economy and I dare say that businesses will do the honourable thing,” she stressed.

8 Responses to Holder: Not so fast PM

  1. Kevin June 13, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    Leave the self-employed who dont pay anything to the NIS. When they ‘retire’ they wont get NIS pension, thats all. Nor no sickness benefits either. Leave them be.

    Reply
    • Mr B June 14, 2017 at 9:01 am

      I totally agree with you. But I have one reservation. When these people reach old age with no pension or financial support they then become a burden on the scarce resources of the country provided by our contributions and taxes

      Reply
    • Miche June 14, 2017 at 9:14 am

      Kevin…even though you may be justified in making such a statement,,,you may be technically incorrect ,in that they will still be a problem to future governments,,for they will become Vagrants,,living under stores and sleeping on pavements,,,,,

      Reply
  2. Sunshine Sunny Shine June 14, 2017 at 12:09 am

    When this serpent tongue speaking deceiver for a Prime Minister can effectively reel in all the high flyers that have not been paying taxes for years, then he will have a strong, compelling argument for going after the small self-employed businessperson. It is their policies, and the policies of the previous administration that have created the mess that sees many prominent business persons not paying their fair share of taxes, yet Lucifer is walking on egg shells when it comes to them.

    Reply
  3. Linda Ince June 14, 2017 at 12:37 am

    The public servants need to pay their own NIS. Why should my taxes have to cover their NIS benefits. That is not fair. Especially if they want self employed people to pay NIS and they don’t even get benefits!

    Reply
  4. joan Worrell June 14, 2017 at 9:10 am

    Are you fuh real Lynette? There are hundreds of small business people who own properties without contributing to the N.I.S and without borrowing a single cent from a bank or any lending institution . When they reach age 67 they file for non-contributory N.I.S pension and get it. Is this fair to the people who contributed all of their working lives I am of the opinion that not one red cent should be paid in non-contributory pension to a claimant unless he or she presents a sworn affidavit by a Justice of the Peace or doctor or priest or whoever stating that the individual has been unemployed throughout their lifetime. Name another country which is so liberal with NIS payments.

    Reply
  5. Peter June 14, 2017 at 9:32 am

    It sicken me that y’all speak so unintelligent. Most self employed people are struggling even to pay the same unit. Jobs aren’t plentiful people trying to feed them house holds other trying to put themselves through tertiary education. So that they can do better to get the money to pay. It’s so sickening. Because they don’t pay they may have insurance coverage s or other plans. If they become vagrants it would just add to the rest of the lazy ass population that don’t do one rashole but beg and dependant is ads on the same government. Or who have a job and still dependant on the government. Bahama’s lazy is ads and always feel them entitled. But a man that try to do something and not become another burden on the government. Getting penalize.Indecisive.Ignorant ass set of cunts in a country who feel accomplished when them get a half dead government job or bank job is how them feel actualization.Stupid. y’all continue to let the world see how stupid you are

    Reply
  6. Tropical child June 14, 2017 at 9:40 am

    How about the NIS becoming a worthwhile investment, my wife took a year and a half to get unemployment benefits when she was laid off, maternity benefits with our children took 8-9 months, daily I hear people complaining about not receiving payments. WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND CONTRIBUTE UNLESS FORCED TO BY LAW???? They act like they are doing a favour to the contributors. SMH. Government keeps borrowing from the scheme and makes little or no repayment and it will go broke in the near future. Get your own retirement plan as the NIS is doomed.

    Reply

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