Inniss supports tax ease for renewable energy sector

Outspoken Government Minister Donville Inniss is not in favour of the renewable energy sector paying the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).

In his May 30 Budget presentation Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced a major increase in the NSRL from two per cent to ten per cent to be applied on the customs value of all imports, with the exception of goods for the manufacturing, agriculture and tourism sectors.

Inniss, who previously made it clear he did not give the Budget his 100 per cent support, today agreed with those who advocate for the renewable energy sector to be exempted from the controversial tax, which is due to take effect in two weeks.

Arguing that in some aspect importers of renewable energy supplies were manufacturers, Inniss said: “We cannot say on one hand we want to develop and sustain the renewable energy sector and then impose onerous conditions on it that prohibits the growth of the sector.

“My own analysis of it wearing a semi-technical hat on tax matters is that the renewable energy sector can be seen on one hand as a manufacturing sector and therefore the National Social Responsibility Levy should not apply because it is an input cost that you are attributing to it.

“On the other hand, or related to that, is that it is a unique service that the state recognizes will save foreign exchange and also help to earn some foreign exchange indirectly, and therefore it is not the intention to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. So I suspect that there may be a little bit of misunderstanding or miscommunication on the issue,” he told participants in Friday’s BREA meeting held at United Nations House under the theme, The State of the Sector: Financing the Renewable Energy Sector in Times of Crisis.

“With respect to the National Social Responsibility Levy, I think we all understand why these things have to be done, but at the same time it is not the intention of the Ministry of Finance or Government on the whole to do any harm to key sectors such as this,” he stressed.

BREA is expected to engage Sinckler on the matter next week, outlining its concerns about the tax, which it described at a media conference on Monday as “a significant exercise of fiscal desperation”.

The Minister of International Business, Industry, Commerce and Small Business Development said based on a conversation with Sinckler today, there will be several discussions next week with stakeholders to “bring clarity to the issues”.

However, while scolding BREA for holding a media conference on the matter earlier this week before taking their concerns to Sinckler, Inniss said that should not stop the organization from submitting its arguments to the minister.

“BREA went and held a very powerful press conference without first talking to the Minister of Finance. So you made your public decisions and now we are going to talk? The Minister of Finance will engage from Monday with several stakeholders on some of the issues that have arisen from the Budget and included in those stakeholders will be the Barbados Renewable Energy Association,” he said.

Making a contribution to the meeting today, Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry executive member and operator of Caribbean LED Lighting Inc Jim Reid questioned why there was no consultation with industry players prior to the Budget.

He argued that when the ten per cent tax on imports takes effect on July 1 it would make no sense for his company or other local renewable energy companies to manufacture items here.

In fact, Reid said the levy will make it “cheaper to buy a product from China than bring it in and build it yourself”, and therefore will affect job levels in the sector.

14 Responses to Inniss supports tax ease for renewable energy sector

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall June 16, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    U larma don’t care about nobody

  2. Mr. Crowley June 17, 2017 at 1:02 am

    Mr. Minister, you should consider a career in acting, especially in a mini series like “Game of Thrones” You appear to be one of those persons who tell people what you think they want to hear in order to find favour with them. Your position on this matter could and should have been argued in Parliament when given the opportunity to comment on the budget. You had a wonderful opportunity and platform to give voice to the voiceless but you squandered it and now expect rational people to take you seriously. You were against it (budget) but still voted for it….. Like I said, LIGHTS, CAMERA & ACTION

  3. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen June 17, 2017 at 5:36 am

    What about the people that were born disabled in this country who can’t and didn’t work to build a home like a pensioner and in some cases became disabled and have children and get a very small invalidity pension ,welfare don’t help these persons.lord have mercy on a forgotten people.

  4. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen June 17, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Miss ifill in the senate and he predecessors do and didn’t put a voice for these unfortunate people ,it’s like people in this country when holding a position frighten to open they mouth to say the obvious for fear of losing they uppity position.

  5. Santini More
    Santini More June 17, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Nothing this man says about the struggles of business’ is worth taking notice of. He supported the imposition of this ruinous budget by voting for it. His actions are what you need to judge him by, not his weasel, sweet-mouth words….By their deeds you shall know them.

  6. Anderson Steven
    Anderson Steven June 17, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Long steupes…when are elections again?

  7. Jack Hanma
    Jack Hanma June 17, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I support a tax ease to the local population

  8. Frank White June 17, 2017 at 8:21 am

    @ Mr. Crowley, well said as it was the same line I was going to head down…

    I said before and I say again, there’s a plan to destroy the middle class in Barbados and further lengthen the gap between the rich and the poor and this can only be done when the rich is calling the shots…

    I am a millionaire and I pull up at the traffic lights and you that is chief of security of a hotel, driving the same vehicle as me, can’t happen…

  9. Alex Alleyne June 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Donville, you know that BIZZY has been crying out about his energy business, so don’t come now trying to pee down our backs and tell us it is raining.

  10. jrsmith June 17, 2017 at 8:36 am

    This is what in other countries around the world, is call political correctness ,he is trying to convince the people especially the party followers to come around to his way of thinking, even if he does nothing….. Bajans seems to be all asleep our crooked , corrupt politicians have the mark on the black masses, what they use ,, detraction as like renewable energy and climate change to keep lying to black people , covering up they corrupt behaviour ..

    I would have thought the increase should be applied to the agriculture products, which would then allow our local farming community , the chance to be major suppliers in bim………….
    As for the tourism sector getting off not paying the increase , this favour the same companies who is getting away paying bajans low wages and a lot of them not paying taxes , and all of they profits ends up in tax havens……………………………………….
    As for the manufacturing sector ,the last paragraph, explains even more ………………………………………………..

  11. Milli Watt June 17, 2017 at 9:25 am

    wuh part SANDRA IS MAN!!!!! this man is a real clown

  12. DE June 17, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    Mr. Crowley, It could not be delivered any better than how you delivered it. These politicians really think that because they are getting away with the nonsense they say and do that the public at large are illiterate. I would hope that the get this publication in their email. But then again, it does not make any difference because they do not give a two hoops about any body.

  13. greengiant June 17, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    @ Frank White or anyone else. Who are the members of this (so called) middle class?

    Are these the people who drive expensive cars, have homes in the rural developments, and hold senior management positions in the public and private sectors?

    Well, we have really been mislead all these years, because these are the fortunate or educated poor. This I say because the cars, homes, and other material possessions are owned by the finance institutions. If these same persons lose their jobs tomorrow morning they can lose everything. So why do we call them the middle class? Is it because they are actually stuck in the middle of nowhere?

    I’m one of them, and I don’t consider myself to be middle class. I’m a business owner and like the others whether we are employers or employees, we take the highest risk in this country. However, more of us need to become investors, both locally, regionally and internationally. This is the only way to reduce our risk and increase our chances of maintaining our standard of living and guaranteeing our very survival.

    I have recognized several years now that my very survival does not depend on Barbados, or the decisions made by our political leaders. We live in a global village, it has become even smaller with the advance technology available today. So our future is in our hands, we need to seek opportunities within this competitive global environment and make sure we take full advantage of them. We certainly don’t buy our foods from the same supplier everyday, we eat where we choose on special occasions, we view different television programs for our relaxation or entertainment, but we expect that our economic survival rest within the confines of our little island. We behave similar to the business community, so when they encounter financial difficulties so do we, because we are feeding from the same pond.

  14. Simon June 18, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Company’s manufacturing in Barbados (not many) will now pay more tax than those importing from overseas. This is a massive home Goal, well done I’m sure all the displaced workers and would be investors will note this day in history.


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