Food ease

basket of goods to be exempted from nsrl – sinckler

There is a bit of good news for Barbadians in relation to Government’s recently announced austerity package.

Following three days of talks with the private sector, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today revealed that the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), which is due to be increased from two per cent to ten per cent effective July 1, will not be applied to the “basic basket of goods”.

“With relation to the NSRL the rates remain the same and yes, it will be onerous to some extent. As we indicated we are looking for ways in which we can shield the more vulnerable persons in our society to ensure they are not impacted too unreasonably by it. That is why we have decided that the VAT basket would not apply to the NSRL,” Sinckler told reporters, adding that staff in the Ministry of Finance were currently preparing the requisite Cabinet paper to that effect.

Back in September, 2015 Government had released its latest Value Added Tax (VAT)-exempted Basket of Goods, detailing a list of zero-rated food items, which do not attract the 17.5 per cent VAT. Based on today’s announcement these items will also not attract the NSRL.

Here, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler (right) shakes hands with President of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association Rudy Grant following today’s post-Budget talks.

However, without going into details on the items that would be exempted from the tax, Sinckler told reporters there were about 300 basic food items and other items that were zero-rated.

“So in the supermarkets and in the regular shops ordinary Barbadians should not be affected by that. But of course that still has to be approved by the Cabinet, but I don’t think anybody would oppose to that proposal,” he said.

The minister, who had previously announced that the agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors would be exempt from the tax, also revealed today an amendment would have to be made to NSRL Act.

“As we had said originally and in the guidance which was given by the Barbados Revenue Authority, the NSRL is on the input costs rather than on the selling price. That is going to be continued because it currently is done on the production cost rather than on the selling price. The legislation seems to have gotten that slightly incorrectly and we are going to correct that shortly.

“What we tell them is to allow the status quo to continue because the status quo is correct,” he added.

Sinckler, who met today with the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA) at Government Headquarters, also confirmed that tourism enterprises that receive incentives under the Tourism Development Act would also be exempted from the NSRL.

BHTA Chairman Roseanne Myers had first announced the exemption during the association’s annual general meeting last week.

Following talks with various stakeholders this week, Sinckler said he was generally satisfied he had been able to clarify a number of their issues.

However, he made it clear that the July 1, 2017 date for implementation of the NSRL would remain, so too the proposed ten per cent rate “unless something radical happens or unless somebody can give us credible alternatives as to how we can get that cash in the short-term to finance Government’s operations.

“I am at a loss, but I am open to suggestions as to how we not do it [implement the tax]. So the rates would remain but we were able to clarify certain things,” Sinckler stressed.

The Minister of Finance also addressed concerns arising from his announcement of a levy on foreign exchange transactions, saying stakeholders were “generally satisfied” with the guidelines given on how the new two per cent charge would be applied.

He also supported a suggestion made by the president of the Barbados Private Sector Association this week that the measures, which are aimed at raising $542 million in revenue and closing the island’s fiscal deficit of $537.6 million would only be short-term.

However, while opting not to say exactly how long they would last, Sinckler said he remained confident Government would still be able to rake in the projected revenue, with the measure due to be reviewed after “a few months”.

He is expected to report to Cabinet tomorrow on the meetings with the private sector ahead of scheduled talks on Friday with the labour movement.

Amid a threat of strike action if the harsh budgetary measures are not withdrawn, a seemingly unperturbed Sinckler today reiterated that while he could not advise the unions what to do, if they did not like the measures they should put forward viable alternatives.

“I think the union and its membership will have to decide what is in its best interest. I can’t advise them as to what is in their best interest. I can advise what is in the best interest of the country,” he said.

18 Responses to Food ease

  1. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne June 21, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    that’s lovely, however. . the prices will rise by a minimum 8% plus because the manufacturer, or buyer, will have to pay the 10pct tax and then compound that with all the other taxes.. and the fact that he has had to pay out a 2pct for using foreign exchange to buy the items in the first place.. The buyer will still have to pay what ever the selling price turns out to be. and if those 300 items are zero rated, but does that mean the wholesaler that brings in potatoes,is except for paying the 2pct charge when he goes to pay his credit card, or gets a wire transfer done to use the foreign exchange for purchasing Russet Potatoes from Idaho ?? you have to know that tourists are already talking about waiting and seeing what will happen to Barbados and some of said they aren’t coming back.. don’t think that’s a big deal.. because it certainly is…

  2. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba June 21, 2017 at 10:46 pm


  3. KJ Heir
    KJ Heir June 21, 2017 at 10:49 pm


  4. Santini More
    Santini More June 21, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    This Government is a mess!

  5. Fred Blackz
    Fred Blackz June 21, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Basic basket items ……. hmmmm … I gotta see whay these things are cause I know everything gone up again shortly

  6. Astral Macalesher
    Astral Macalesher June 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    I don’t want to hear nothing from DEM!!!!!!!

  7. Pauline Lowe
    Pauline Lowe June 21, 2017 at 11:17 pm

    Stupse go in any supermarket it’s not July 1st and prices skyrocketed already. Pack of 8 corn on cob was 25 dollars now 34

  8. Barbara Morris
    Barbara Morris June 21, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Dem sickening

  9. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Why buy a pack of 8 corn on the cob for 34 dollars when you can get 8 pounds of carrots for the same price. Do you know that both carrots and corn supply the body with lutein/zeaxanthin and alpha-carotene carotenoids ? Do you know that both help reduce the chance of developing age-related macular degeneration ( an eye disease) . It is time Barbadians become educated about food equivalents and stop believing that imported foods are better than local foods. This is a perfect example of separating one’s wants from one’s needs. Corn on the cob when money hard to come by? Girl guh way, do. lol

  10. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 1:19 am

    By the way one serving of corn (a cup) has 132 calories whereas one serving of carrots (a cup) has 56 calories. Cut back on the amount of calories you are consuming and you would live a little longer.

  11. jrsmith June 22, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Bajan people stop moaning there is no one coming to make things free , coming to make things better , because the world has move on nothing is free , if barbados is going to survive stop the foolishness , thats why barbados is being taken over by the foreigners, you hear them moaning , no its good for them .. Do you see our politicians caring about the black masses , if they did things would be a lot better …. they are all looking after themselves , thats why they are getting a way with everything , the behaviour of bajan black masses suits them………………….

    No body is listening, its as like ******g in the wind , all the bushy plots around barbados harboring mosquitoes get your all fingers out , clear them up buy the seeds get things growing , we need a cottage industry the more your grow , the more you sow the chance you can export …….
    Again nobody aint coming to rescue anybody stop living in la, la land……………. (GET ON WITH IT) or else we will sink …………


    • jennifer June 22, 2017 at 10:27 am

      @ Jrsmith & Joan well said.. then we got a people who are so divided that all will feel the pinch of the shoe. Why not people come together in groups who know each other and got transport and buy E.g a bag of onions, cucumbers etc from the plantations and then share to each other equally. Pumpkin 50 – 1 dollar a pound. Leave the dear a$$ vegs in the supermarket. But due to this massa divide they cannot even come TOGETHER to do something like this.

      • jennifer June 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

        Out of all of this only that 1% will keep smelling like a ROSE.

  12. Stephen Butler June 22, 2017 at 9:02 am

    It has been confirmed that this government is the most hated and repulsed in my life time….

  13. Milli Watt June 22, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Minister you need to tell de parasites to remove the increases they put on the goods before your tax on the said items DON’T COME INTO FORCE.

    • jennifer June 22, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Milli – all of them parasitic together to achieve the same objective. Tape worm and grubs.

  14. joan Worrell June 22, 2017 at 11:29 am

    You may be a bit too young to know that Bajans did exactly what you are now recommending, during the oil crisis and the recession of 1981-82. Some credit unions, workers at banks, Government employees and Telephone Company workers, to name a few, bought items in bulk and shared the costs. Yes, I was personally involved but as things improved, the practice discontinued and everybody broke for himself or herself. Time we get back there . Brilliant idea muh girl.

  15. nanci June 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    the government needs to make sure stores and supermarkets not putting on the tax that was lifted. I know some corner stores will charge people extra. They needs to be a board where people can call if supermarkets or stores charge more for food items. It happens to many people, some stores charge more for items. Food should be exempted from any taxes.


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