PM In the dark

Stuart still without ‘all the data’ on NSRL

Three days after his Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler revealed that the inflated National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) had raked in $50 million in its first quarter of operation, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart today suggested he was still in the dark on the levy’s performance.

Despite Sinckler’s announcement in Parliament this week of the successes of the tax, Stuart this afternoon told Barbados TODAY on the fringes of the launch of the Personnel Administration Division’s correspondence management system at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre that he was still awaiting data on the NSRL’s output for the July to September period.

He said once he had all of the information on the taxes collected he would address the issue.

“The minister can say what he feels like saying, but I don’t have all of the data on the performance for the first quarter and when I get it I will speak on it,” the Prime Minister said.

Sinckler told Parliament on Tuesday as he introduced the National Social Responsibility Amendment Bill 2017, giving the increase in the NSRL legislative teeth, and listing items that would be exempt from the onerous levy, the tax was on track to raise “just around $200 million” for the fiscal year, even before the additional Value Added Tax (VAT) earned on the NSRL is counted.

This prompted the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) to call on Stuart to keep a promise he had made at the end of a meeting of the Social Partnership on August 11 that depending on the performance of the levy, Government would be willing to look seriously at the trade unions’ request for a coping allowance or getting into serious discussions on a salary increase.

“I want to suggest to the unions once again that we give the levy a little more time to work, observe its performance, discussions would be taking place as has been agreed,” the Prime Minister said at the end of the August 11 talks, after repeating a claim first made at a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) luncheon on July 23 that the unions had agreed at previous meetings that the levy should be given a chance to see how it performed in the first quarter ending September 30.

The unions have repeatedly denied that any such agreement had been reached, with General Secretary of the Barbados Workers’ Union Toni Moore saying back then the Prime Minister’s statement was “totally untrue”.

It was at the DLP event that Stuart had said that the levy was Government’s way of dealing “incrementally” with a “serious deficit problem . . . and we hope that the policy works”.

The levy, which was raised from two per cent to ten per cent of the customs value of locally produced the imported goods, effective July first, is projected to raise $291 million in revenue for a full financial year, and $218 million, inclusive of VAT, between July 1 and the end of the financial year.

The NUPW will likely be waiting for the Prime Minister’s decision with bated breath, having made it clear it would not back down on its demand for monetary compensation for its members, who it said were being disadvantaged by the contentious levy.

It has the support of the Barbados Workers’ Union, the Barbados Union of Teachers and the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union, as well as the private sector, all of which came together in July to organize an anti-NSRL protest march in Bridgetown that attracted an estimated 20,000 people.

NUPW President Akanni McDowall told Barbados TODAY on Thursday the union was demanding no more than $5 million in subsidies to help the workers cope until the two sides agree a new wage deal.

However, in seeking to make it clear that no one in the Stuart administration had pocketed any of the NSRL funds, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Small Business Development Donville Inniss yesterday appeared to suggest that the revenue from the taxing levy had already been spent.

“Let’s have that conversation not just about collecting $50 million in NSRL but where it is being spent. This is not money that has gone into any politician’s pocket and what not,” Inniss told Barbados TODAY after visiting his constituent, centenarian Violet Gaskin.

“When people call for an ambulance, they want an ambulance to respond in a matter of minutes. It costs money to maintain those ambulances. We have bought additional trucks for the Fire Service, [and] the [Royal Barbados] Police Force has been given all the resources they need to fight crime and to be proactive in this society. These things cost money,” Inniss insisted.

He also suggested that the monies collected through the levy helped subsidize “the most complex surgeries” at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, with Barbadians getting those procedures done “without having a clue as to what it costs”.

“That is where the taxpayer’s dollars is going. So it’s not being squandered around,” the minister stressed.

23 Responses to PM In the dark

  1. Gittens Hallam
    Gittens Hallam October 6, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Was he ever in the light???

  2. Rico Seale
    Rico Seale October 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Like always

  3. Kym Reigns
    Kym Reigns October 6, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Isn’t he always?

  4. Kenley Payne
    Kenley Payne October 6, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    Question : If i run for govt next year wanna voting for me?

  5. Pullhead Davis
    Pullhead Davis October 6, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Two liars which one to believe out Chris and p.m I vote none of the above

  6. Vishska Bokeesh
    Vishska Bokeesh October 6, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    Wait he did day every rh sense he in a f$#@**** cave.

  7. BIGSKY October 7, 2017 at 12:36 am

    You mean PM Stephen Lashley, because he does be on the CBC more than the potholes on any road in Barbados.PM Stuart knows he will loose his seat and I think the other members of the DLP should look for his replacement since after this occur he will still be in the dark.

  8. Thunder October 7, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I tell you politicians are professional liars,do you want Barbadians to believe that a member of your party made a public statement concerning a tax that your party implemented, and you cannot confirm if this statement is true.
    Well I will turn the light on for you,you are shame that the country now knows that in less than 4 months you made 50 million by purposely burdening tax payers with your NSRLand we frankly canny trust an administration that cannot tell the truth, this is totally unprofessional,this is why I say vote them out!

  9. John Everatt October 7, 2017 at 5:09 am

    This seems like an attempt by the government to back out of their agreement to meet with the unions on a coping allowance if the NSRL was successful. It is pretty unbelievable that 3 days after Sinclair announces this news that the PM has still been kept in the dark about it. Seems to me this would be a pretty important piece of information.

  10. Don Keyote October 7, 2017 at 6:22 am

    “The minister can say what he feels like saying, but I don’t have all of the data… blah blah blah

    A few things are painfully clear:

    1. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing
    2. The right hand doesn’t care what the left hand is doing
    3. The brain that is supposed to coordinate the two hands is malfunctioning

  11. harry turnover October 7, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Just as I had said yesterday.He gine come now and play he doan know wha going on.
    How come Stuart that you believed EVERYTHING Sinckler had said in the past about the economy and you now saying that you en see nothing official yet ?
    The man says that he is still awaiting data on the NSRL’s output for the July to September period.
    Will those in Authority please send Stuart the data so that he would be able to SEE wha went on and proved that Sinckler is indeed a liar or NOT.
    Stuart… EVERYBODY knew you were awaiting word on the NSRLs’ performance for the period July to September…so why did they not send you the report after Sinckler SPILLED THE BEANS ? or before Sinckler INQUIRED ?
    …or are you saying that Sinckler should have talked the matter over with you before releasing the data if this is the NORM on ALL economic matters ?
    As I said yesterday the PM is now in ” potta” as to what he will say now.
    I gine stay tuned hope it would be not as long as when George Pilgrim tell me to stay tuned

  12. Chris hill October 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

    So he gets caught out. Promising the unions the raises once the NSRL looks good, so sin clear drops the big one about the success of the levy. Now the people want their money. Sin clear and froon living in two separate caves.

  13. Carson C Cadogan October 7, 2017 at 8:11 am

    “”This represented an abuse of privilege where being the last spokesperson, the Prime Minister used the opportunity to raise issues that were not even mentioned in meeting, namely his discussion with the unions and misrepresented a number of things. We have to make it plain that his statement that there is an agreement and a commitment of the unions to giving the NSRL a chance to work for a quarter, is totally untrue. The unions never made such an agreement,” said Moore, whose recollection of the meeting in question was supported by President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union Mary Redman.”” TONI MOORE

    So since the Trade Unions are saying they never agreed to any agreement with the Govt.. How can they now be seeking a raise as part of an agreement which they themselves said never existed??

    • harry turnover October 10, 2017 at 7:29 am

      C C Cadogan WHAT ARE YOU TELLING YOURSELF ? don’t get knot up…..this is ABOUT WHAT THE PM SAID …that he would prefer to wait UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER TO SEE HOW THE TAX HAD WORKED TO SEE IF CIVIL SERVANTS could be granted an increase or an allowance and by how much and he REPEATED it again after that meeting on the 18th.
      Whether the Unions agreed to it or not and it appeared they had not ,hence their request for an earlier than the Sept. 30th deadline THAT THE PM had set…the FACT remains that IS WHAT THE PM HAD STATED

  14. Alex Alleyne October 7, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Every body in this party is a BOSS unto them self. I do what I want , say what I feel like and don’t have to report to NO ONE.

  15. Randolph October 7, 2017 at 8:51 am

    He was always in the dark past.

  16. Angela October 7, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Have to agree with the comment which says that since the union said there was no such agreement, how could they now want to believe there was. Mr Sinckler himself said he still had to wait on all the different computations of tax like VAT to see what the total
    would be. Question if money is still being borrowed to pay salaries even if the NSRL performs can we afford a raised? I would love if it performs enough for the raise. Commonsense must prevail at all times.

  17. BimJim October 7, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Doh turn on de light, leff de idiot sleep. I would rather he remain in the dark than see he bowgly head any time giving we two igrunt words dat don’t mean nuttn anyway. Soon come, Fumble, soon come.

  18. Sunshine Sunny Shine October 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Got to agree with you Prime Minister. Get the report first because we know that Chris lost his credibility and not too big on truths. Then again, we might need to see the report that you are getting because you are known to say one thing and it ends up being a next. Look, I think it is best that you let the Permanent Secretary in your ministry address the nation. When you talk you have a tendency of getting people vexed.

  19. milli watt October 7, 2017 at 10:53 am

    the minister can say what he like………….hmmmmmmmm

  20. Ann Thomas October 7, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    That’s right PM, show you are the one in charge and will not be sidelined by announcements from any alleged member of the Eager 11.

  21. Back Freight October 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Freun yuh talk right this time!

  22. Cj October 8, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I swear this is a kadooment Govt. Lord help us
    Family pray for deliverance without ceasing


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