Jobs gone

small business sector blames CUTS on NSRL

President of the Small Business Association (SBA) Dean Straker is reporting a 20 per cent decline in business since the introduction of the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).

Based on the impact of the tax, which was increased from two per cent to ten per cent on July 1, Straker also said that some businesses have been forced to send home workers, and he warned that if commonsense did not prevail and a decision taken quickly to change how the tax is applied to the manufacturing sector, more workers could soon be joining the breadline soon.

Although Straker could not say exactly how many workers had gone home, he told Barbados TODAY there was no doubt that the tax was taking its toll on the sector.

“Sales are generally down anywhere between 15 and 20 per cent since July 1 and we anticipate that things could get tougher coming down into October . . . certainly people are feeling it,” he said.

“It is obvious that if your revenue is down 15 to 20 per cent, the only way you can tackle it and deal with it on your own is to start looking at your expenses, and your expenses are going to impact on employees. That is where you are going to have to go. You are going to have to trim your staff, and already yes, some people have started doing it,” he said, adding that some companies simply could not hold on any longer.

Since the announcement of the tax by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in his May 30 Budget, private sector operators have been complaining that they could be forced to let go staff or go out of operation.

Some have also warned customers of possible price increases, given that the situation was compounded by the introduction of a two per cent levy on foreign exchange transactions, as well as a hike in fuel charges.

However, despite several meetings on the issue and strident calls for a reversal of the onerous tax measures, which formed part of a $542 million tax package, Government is still not budging.

It has been insisting that the private sector, as well as local trade unions, which came together back in July to stage a march against the NSRL that attracted 20,000 people, should give the tax some time to work and allow for a review at the end of September.

However, Straker said local manufacturers were finding it hard to cope with the NSRL, which is applied to all imports at the border and to the production cost of goods used by the sector.

Suggesting that the way in which the tax was being applied to locally produced items was “unjust and unfair”, the SBA spokesman warned that “a number of things need to be worked out and worked out quickly.

“The fact that manufacturers in Barbados are being treated differently to anybody else .  . . makes producing things locally very hard to be competitive with imports. So this is what we need to be addressed,” Straker said.

He made it clear that local manufacturers were not against paying the NSRL, but “they are against paying the NSRL at the end of the assembly line and being asked to pay it on everything that goes into making that product”.

Straker also said in some instances the Barbados Revenue Authority was not calculating the tax payable in the same way as the companies.

“Accountants will tell you one thing and Barbados Revenue Authority will tell you something else. Our understanding is that BRA has told us the production cost is everything except your markup. So that is significant,” he said.

“So what I had asked for is a clearly outlined policy from Barbados Revenue Authority saying what they expected, all the line items that they expected to be contained in your production cost. So far, we haven’t got that and what’s happening is that manufacturers are treating it in their own way,” he said.

“Therefore I am saying, outline a list of the items of what you expect to make up in the production cost so that everybody is on the same page or just come straight out and say, ‘we expect production cost would be 50 per cent or 40 per cent of your sales’, some definitive thing so that everybody can follow,” Straker suggested.

32 Responses to Jobs gone

  1. John Everatt September 9, 2017 at 12:50 am

    Government needs to act quickly on this before the entire economy of Barbados collapses. That is the reality folks. Government keeps grabbing for a life ring but in reality the ship is already sunk and the lifeboats are few. We can not depend on these home grown solutions that have never worked any longer.

  2. Saga Boy September 9, 2017 at 2:53 am

    He is an alarmist. I don’t belief him. A few weeks ago stores in Bridgetown were complaining and just a couple days ago they reported that business had picked up. The retail sector is making money even Massy making profits but still sending home people. He needs to provide us with the information on specifically who he is referring to.

    Next we will hear Bizzy coming and saying the same thing while he is expanding Burger King. Chefette just opened another outlet and has started an another.

    • John Everatt September 9, 2017 at 4:22 am

      Yes, these people have enough to weather the storm. When times are tough they have the where with all to purchase and expand but the small guy does not have this option. So the smaller businesses will simply have to disappear. That is the reality.

  3. Jennifer September 9, 2017 at 3:05 am

    As soon as a person cannot produce evidence for their claim, they are usually fibbing. Mr President please make sure that businesses are paying in the VAT etc otherwise you will be proving to be a lame foot.

  4. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor September 9, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Wunna ppl dat got money really believe that taxes are for the poor! Stupse…. This is a slow period for wunna any way, normally wunna does lay off d workers around this time and call them back in november for d xmas rush… I guess d reporter that wrote this piece young and inexperienced…..

  5. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard September 9, 2017 at 5:01 am

    This is something else .yesterday ,I buy 12 books from the school for my daughter and pay 18 dollars last year the same books cost me 15 dollars when ask there tell me that everything gone up that the NSRL push everything up.lord help us all.

    • E Jerome Davis
      E Jerome Davis September 9, 2017 at 7:10 am

      The books should cost $16.50.

    • Ali Baba
      Ali Baba September 9, 2017 at 9:11 am


      • jennifer September 9, 2017 at 10:49 am

        Well said. Them homer pigeons and parrots got things so.

  6. Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma
    Ibukunoluwa Ayanfe Ozioma September 9, 2017 at 5:22 am

    Production costs could never be 40 or 50% of sales! Doesn’t make business sense for it to be that high! Stop throwing out fictional figures to cause alarm! Businesses there are firing people not because they find it difficult but because they want to stick it to the government by hurting the people. They want still to make the marginal profits they have been making without losing anything so they are quite happy to make people jobless and destitute!!

  7. Ernesta Catlyn September 9, 2017 at 5:30 am

    I do not know what the SBA numbers look like but I know he is correct about the BRA – cannot get any sensible information from there. The answer/solution appears to everything seem to lie with one person or post, and even then when they do get back to you with the information, it makes absolutely no sense. Something is definitely wrong with the structure of the BRA, in my opinion

  8. Saga Boy September 9, 2017 at 5:50 am

    Ernesto that is true about lots of Gov departments.

    • Ernesta Catlyn September 9, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Sit Saga Boy! my comment is with respect to this particular article

  9. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce September 9, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Enough of the repetitive long talk time to prepare and focus on the Election. Just waiting for Freundel to talk in his sleep to confirm the date.

  10. Helen Charles Knighton
    Helen Charles Knighton September 9, 2017 at 6:58 am

    All who here commenting do you run and own a business?. If you do how big and how many?

  11. E Jerome Davis
    E Jerome Davis September 9, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Would the sales in July be normally higher than in June? That is the question one would have to ask.

  12. Steve L. Jemmott
    Steve L. Jemmott September 9, 2017 at 8:06 am

    If people can’t afford to buy, then business suffers. We are a symbiosis , the days of panning off expenses are closing. Enough is enough.

  13. Carson C Cadogan September 9, 2017 at 8:08 am

    It continues.

    In order the embarrass the Govt. the private sector is on a crusade to raise the jobless rate in Barbados. They are probably following orders form the hierarchy of the private sector. The last figures were below 10%. So the private sector are determined to increase joblessness in Barbados.

    First it was Brydens stokes who with the blessing of the BWU will be laying off 4% of their workforce, then followed by Guardian who will be laying off workers with the blessing of the BWU and now its this joker Dean Straker laying off more workers, all in an attempt to make matters worse in Barbados.

    The truth of the matter is it is not the NSRL is highway robbery by the private sector which has prices sky high in Barbados. Many people from overseas tell me they don’t know how Bajans survive with the high prices for everything in Barbados.

    The white merchants have recently increase their prices more than 20%. This has very little to do with the NSRL.

    It is the greedy elitist Plantation class who own far too many businesses in Barbados.

    • Ernesta Catlyn September 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

      Any word on price controls?

    • jennifer September 9, 2017 at 10:05 am

      Compare the one in six roads and the one in Kendal hill.

  14. Alex Alleyne September 9, 2017 at 8:35 am

    @CCC, your LAST LINE on your 8.08AM post is the Gospel truth…..Politics or no politics with Politricks.

  15. Carson C Cadogan September 9, 2017 at 9:29 am

    These White people tell a lot of lies and the Bajan news media don’t question the garbage that they speak.

    They just accept it as gospel because they are White or Indian.

    I don’t believe a word that he is saying.

    • Roger Headley September 9, 2017 at 9:31 am

      Somebody believes Bjerkham and Maloney

    • jennifer September 9, 2017 at 10:01 am

      @CCC – This set of plantation workers have a very serious issue with coming to grips with what they are actually dealing with. The planter class can roll out lies like a carpet and manipulate any scene to steer any situation. As long as the news media is of the said workers they will never seek any truth either due to programming.

  16. Milli Watt September 9, 2017 at 10:02 am


  17. Carson C Cadogan September 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

    This is a tactic which these white Plantation elitist class people always use as soon as they cant get their way.

    They lay off tons of BLACK WORKERS to make them suffer and put pressure on what ever Black Govt. is in office. They do it every time.

    The private sector owe Govt. more than $650million in unpaid rents, taxes, duties and other monies which they refuse to pay. But they are not mentioning that. They only interest right now is to unseat the Democratically elected BLACK govt. of Barbados.

    They are desperate to install the crooked Barbados Labour Party which will allow them to do as they like. To rake as many BILLIONS of dollars as they like off the backs of BLACK PEOPLE. While feeding the Black population the crumbs from their table.

    • jennifer September 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

      Mind you these said BLACK GOVERNMENTS is due some heavy lashes for putting this people under that white/red hammer via the education and religious systems binding the people both and and foot on that bed. Nothing but dependency, servitude and open prey. This people has become as a sick body with a weakened immune system susceptible to all diseases and viruses. Wait until the privatization come in.

  18. margaretp September 9, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Wait…the black ppl in this country really as foolish as these comments portraying tho? After 50 years of black lawmakers, wunna could still believe that whites and Indians are to blame for wuh gine wrong bout here?
    Some of wunna sound real foolish with this non stop black and white talk in trufe tho.
    Y’all best realise that the white ppl ain’t checking for we the same way, they busy making money and saving it for their future generations.
    Stan’ dey and hate on them; instead of seeing to it that our black governments return us to stability so that we can get some of the white ppl money out if their hands in the form of salaries and taxes.
    Up to y’all.

    • Carson C Cadogan September 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      Who are they making this money off? Not black people ????

      They are not enough Whites or Indians in Barbados for them to run successful business on.

      They always seek to make Black people feel that they are doing us a favour by employing us. The truth is their businesses would collapse with out Black support. They need us more, but they would not admit that.

      • jennifer September 9, 2017 at 1:11 pm

        Some people just can’t see the wood among the trees or the rocks in the road yet them lost and falling. No wonder. Pure……..

    • Carson C Cadogan September 9, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      BTW, they are not doing a very good job pretending to be a Black person.

      Get the others to pay the Govt. the almost three quarters of a billion dollars you all owe it.

  19. Buun September 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Mr. Straker, they simply do not care about US, so you’re wasting your time. Once, they get every last cent from us who cares about SBs development.


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