NUPW wants to know what happens to NSRL funds

The country’s largest public sector trade union wants to know what the Freundel Stuart administration has done with the monies collected from the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) introduced last September 1 at a rate of two per cent of the customs value of domestically manufactured goods and on goods imported into Barbados.

When Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler introduced the measure last year, he said it was meant to raise $142.1 million annually – $89.2 million in the 2016/2017 financial year when prorated from September 1, 2016 – to assist “in offsetting the costs associated with financing public health care service provision in Barbados”,  to finance a new fleet for the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) and to procure parts for the existing fleet.

The already unpopular tax became a major bone of contention this year between Government on one side, and the trade unions and the business community on the other side, after it was increased to ten per cent effective July 1.

The unions had previously called for its removal or for a coping subsidy for public servants until the two sides reach a new collective agreement, a position reiterated today by General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) Roslyn Smith at a meeting of the Social Partnership broadcast live on national television.

However, in a new twist, Smith called on the Stuart administration to account for the funds collected through the levy since its introduction, saying there were no signs that the money was being used for the stated purposes.

“I recognize that when we had the two per cent we were told that it was supposed to go towards the health sector, meaning the hospital and the sanitation services to buy trucks. My understanding that there has only been the purchase of hoist and the minister [Sinckler] had said that the expected revenue collected from the two per cent was supposed to be $60 million. So we want to know where exactly that money was being spent because we have not seen any development within the SSA and far from that we have seen privatization aspects in existence,” Smith charged.

The trade union leader again insisted there would be no need for the levy if Government were to do a better job of collecting the taxes it has already imposed on Barbadians.

Aware that Barbados was watching, Smith told the meeting at the Hilton Barbados Resort that from the Value Added Tax (VAT) to corporation tax and virtually every tax in between, “Government is guilty of not collecting revenue”.

She gave as an example the recent difficulty faced by the administration in issuing income tax returns, and Sinckler’s decision to grant a tax amnesty.

“From the revenue collected persons were able to get back their refunds. It was a good idea and not only were persons able to get back their refunds but the Government was able to get back some monies . . . . From the inception of VAT we know that some people have never paid,” Smith said, while recommending that retired customs officers and other people with the relevant expertise be asked to collect overdue taxes for a commission.

“We know that if revenue such as the VAT is collected it will solve a lot of problems in terms of the home grown recovery plan. We know that if the Government gets serious about revenue collection they may very well not need the NSRL or at least it would not need to increase it to that level. So I am calling on the Government to understand that enough is enough. You can’t just keep adding  taxes and then you do not seek to police it,” she stressed. 

13 Responses to NUPW wants to know what happens to NSRL funds

  1. Tony Webster August 12, 2017 at 5:18 am

    How to make crumbled cookies…or crumbled Cou-Cou:
    tek one JCB-load of NSRL sweet-talk in Budget
    add one MTW truck-load of TV-8 “news”
    one 10-litre bucket of elections-sauce
    one 10kg. bag of pepper
    one back-hoe full of special Ilaro-Court-Salted-pig-tails
    one “Governor’s-office-level” of Central-Bank-freshy-printed Grantleys
    Cupple-hundred “big-ones” Million kg. in Green-backs mis-spent on imported frivolities and luxuries
    One Million Kg. in anti-IMF rants
    Dash of spender’s remorse, “we shoulda saved dat $40 Million last year in making “50th Whoopee cake”

    Mix well in elections bowl; decide if you gine cook on on frying-pan…or in de fire. Eat just before polling-day….before it all crumbles. Drop-off few crumbs at QEH, and show the “proof” on tonite’s TV-8 show.

    Hmmm…..I smell something burning in de “kitchen’…smells like someone’s pants are on fire…Yes, dat’s how the cou-cou crumbles…

  2. David Hall August 12, 2017 at 6:40 am

    It’s sad that public funds can be collected for one stated purpose and when not used for the intended purpose, no account of the use of funds is given or thought necessary. And even to ask is to be lambasted.

  3. Alex Alleyne August 12, 2017 at 7:02 am

    All the money/taxes collected from motor vehicles from license to gas tax plus duties etc. jut to name a few and still the roads in a mess. Where all those $$$$$ gone ???????.

  4. Alex Alleyne August 12, 2017 at 7:49 am

    Nothing NEW on the board , so what next ?, another March ?.

    • Jennifer August 13, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Alex – No Prayer. We only seem to be consistent at doing nothing. But keep watching that pressure cooker.

  5. samantha walker August 12, 2017 at 9:53 am

    What is the point in paying into a system that has no records and no accountability…. It is good for those that get to handle the cash but for those that have to pay…… there is no point in having a system like that….. A system with no accountability cannot even be called a system !!

    • Jennifer August 13, 2017 at 9:38 am

      And guess who collecting (not paying in and is skimming off the top) and guess who is paying aka suffering. Same ole conundrum. The more things change the more they remain the same.

  6. Sylvie August 12, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    You all should be asking about the.15c fee being charged by business places.How is it being reconciled? Accounting records must be kept as well as vat records..15×1500=225×12=2700

    • Jennifer August 13, 2017 at 9:42 am

      No that want stopping because those companies already have it (15c) incorporated in their goods mark up. Are we double idiots???? Always the same Vulture preying on the poor and vulnerable.

  7. Jus me August 12, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Oh yeah!!
    Which reminds me.
    Harrison’s Caves,??
    Any books ever been done.
    Wheres all those millions

  8. samantha walker August 12, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Barbados’ problems are self-inflicted…..who is policing those at the VERY TOP !!

  9. samantha walker August 12, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    @Sylvie – Agreed, but do we have any accounting records for the miliions that are ALREADY MISSING…… I think there’s your answer !!

  10. Loretta Griffith August 13, 2017 at 1:04 am

    Some persons have amassed wealth from VAT. Some that had profitable businesses brag about closing their business, but still owing the VAT office, but were able to build a big house and in some cases numerous apartments.
    Where are the tax inspectors? Some of us appears untouchable.
    Sad day for our country.
    On a different subject, as a poor black woman, it pains me to see the continued filthy state of Warrens with all the stale coconut shells and stagnate water in the gutters harbouring mosquitos.
    Where is our minister of the environment and health inspectors? Barbados really gone to the dogs. Pardon the pun, but I have to be brutally frank.
    What are these persons being paid for, just to warm seats?
    I am very hurt seeing the run down state of our island. Taxes, taxes and more taxes, yet the country is in a deplorable state and deteriorating with haste.


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