BCCI commissions UWI to study impact of NSRL on consumers

The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has commissioned the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, to carry out a study on the impact Government’s increased National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) is having on consumers.

BCCI President Eddy Abed who made the announcement Sunday on Down To Brass Tacks on Starcom Network Inc., described the NSRL as “a regressive tax”.

“There is no question that the cost of living has increased and the Chamber has just commissioned UWI to do a study on exactly how much of an increase there is and how the average consumer is spending their money,” said Abed, who is also the owner of the popular fabric store Abed’s.

“The reality is we’ve heard that there are some people who will not pay the light bill this month to pay it next month; they are putting off payment of their regular services and utilities just so that they can make the budget stretch from month to month.”

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler revealed in Parliament last week that the NSRL had raked in $50 million in the three months since it was raised effective July 1, on target with his own expectations when he announced in the May 30 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals that the levy would rise.

But Abed said the NSRL has been particularly unpopular because above all else it has made the cost of living that much more higher in Barbados as compared to any other of its Caribbean neighbours.

“It’s no wonder that shrinking consumer demand has been brought about by the NSRL. One would understand that the basic salary goes to buying what is required and then if anything is left over it will be spent in the greater Barbadian economy. So, we are extremely concerned that it has made us that much more non-competitive as compared to anywhere else in the Caribbean.”

Giving an example of the impact of the NSRL and other taxes, Abed said that an item that starts off at US$100, ends up being about BB$373 by the time it lands in Barbados.

“Retailers ends up with a net margin of 20 – 25 per cent. I assure you, at 20 and 25 per cent all you are doing is paying your bills. Nobody is making money out of this, you are basically treading water waiting for better days to come,” he said.

“If one did not have to pay the NSRL the items would be about seven and a half to eight per cent cheaper, which is probably what it is in reality in the marketplace. A lot of the retailers have absorbed a part of the NSRL because it is impossible to pass on all this and expect to have a market share . . . in a market where you know the consumer has less disposable income,” Abed added.

Meantime, Managing Director of Ace HMB Hardware and Lumber Supplies Mark Roach said while their levels of import duties are not quite as high as with the garment industry, the impact is still very significant.

“The majority of Barbadian consumers realize that this new NSRL levy is going to have a very major impact on the cost of living. In many cases it has already started to do so,” he said.

“We at HMB were fortunate in that we could have cash to import large amounts of inventory when we knew of the pending tax and so we were able to avoid having to pass it on for quite a long time.”

Roach admitted to seeing increased sales last month as people shopped to send supplies to neigbouring islands affected by recent hurricanes.

But he added that, “We have seen definitely a reduction in the number of Barbadians coming in to shop and the size of the purchases they make are not what they used to be”.

26 Responses to BCCI commissions UWI to study impact of NSRL on consumers

  1. Antheia Springer-Williams
    Antheia Springer-Williams October 8, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    Steupse! Got money to waste instead of giving back to the ordinary man in savings in his pocket.

  2. Jan Greaves
    Jan Greaves October 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Stupsssse waste of money. …idiots

    • VoR October 8, 2017 at 2:02 pm

      I don’t think it’s a waste of money. It can be very instructive. I think the UWI should be utilised more to research the problems affecting our society so that we can find home grown solutions. Not everything that comes from “foreign” is applicable to our circumstances.

  3. Susan Maynard
    Susan Maynard October 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    Man something in look right.chris saying onething and the prime minister saying something else.The prime minister saying he did not see no report about the NRSL. But chris all over ppl tv saying that is make all of that money,Right now the prime minister saying he is in the dark,so i has to ask myself if chris got him in trouble to that he cannot pay his light bill,

  4. Jennifer October 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    While you are at IT, please commission the UWI to carry out a study on how price gouging has impacted on the consumers too with your mark ups. One thing for sure if this people was simple with unnecessary and habitual spending, the NRSL should teach them how to cut and contrive on needs and not wants.

    • Jennifer October 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Oh yeh and carry out a study on those holidays and their impact on consumers and their connection to the book.

  5. Alex Alleyne October 8, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    BDS$50 MIL was collected in 3 months and was spent on WHAT ????.
    Please give us the breakdown……CHRIS

  6. Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan
    Wayne R. Pilgrim-Cadogan October 8, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    Another waste of money and long drawn out process to come up with some alternative mickey mouse scheme!

  7. archy perch October 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    Man Eddy tell yah members to pay de darn Treasury de 900 million in Vat money they owe maN. You PARASITES sucking the economy’s nipples dry and fooling people. Uping prices willy- nilly; charging for plastic bags; screwing the consumers and cussing and blaming de government. Hypocrites!

    • Jennifer October 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      True – they got a bottomless guts. Share exploiters of the poor. sickening lot.

    • hcalndre October 8, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      archy perch, tired of hearing, pay the treasury $900m in Vat. Have you asked what they do with all the taxes that they collected for the 10 years?

  8. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith October 8, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    This is a brilliant idea. I am all for facts based on research.

  9. Javier Maynard
    Javier Maynard October 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    What the hell. Hire them to study what. Tell them to go on Facebook and read the comments and look at the pictures in plain view and they want to use random sampling the population standard deviation is already known. You don’t need a z test or t test or rho. So cut the bs. If. They interview 10 random people 11 will say they angry and frustrated.

    • Leroy October 9, 2017 at 9:06 am

      I agree with your conclusion that some things aint worth studying, however the study of NSRL and different types of
      taxation and its effect consumer spend and tax take(economy) in Barbados and the Caribbean needs more scientific analysis.

      I prefer UWI to study it like other Universities across the globe than just sit and spew rhetoric without analysis.

  10. Milli Watt October 8, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    buy low sell high, move foreign exchange out the island, keep it in safes and withhold spending when they want regime change on the island. Business class nothing but PARASITES

  11. Sue Donym October 8, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Ask Sandals that getting all the concessions to do some local business – curtains and linens materials from guess who; office and room furniture could be made or repaired from materials from H&B etc. That would save some foreign exchange. Not that a whole lot of it is staying here now. But not only Sandals, other hotels that lobby hard for concessions every time a new tax is slapped on.

    By the way, are Sandals exempt from taxes and fees such as NSRL and FX fees that would have come into being after they made their sweetheart deal?

  12. Carson C Cadogan October 9, 2017 at 5:52 am

    Eddy Abed, would it not have been easier for the BCCI members to pay that money which they are paying to the UWI into the Govt. coffers and reduce the hundreds of millions of dollars they owe central Govt. and refuse to pay?????

    BCCI really has its priorities mix up!!!!!

    And be honest Eddy, NSRL would not have been a reality had your private sector been paying the taxes, rents, duties which it owes and refuses to pay. We are talking hundreds of millions of dollars here.

    • Jennifer October 9, 2017 at 7:23 am

      @Sue – Bagged, good call out.

      @CCC – you really think them got something mixed up????? Come on now. These are agile leeches.

      • Carson C Cadogan October 9, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        Well said.

  13. Chris hill October 9, 2017 at 7:05 am

    A good survey of 20000 persons will show the negative impact on the society. No need for a long drawn out study that will take a year to complete.

  14. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba October 9, 2017 at 7:27 am


  15. Sue Donym October 9, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Saying it’s a NSRL impact study of the effects on the consumer sounds nice and socially responsible. Call it what you will this is nothing more than market research for business decisions. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, using UWI is likely a cheaper option (another business decision) than a high profile professional firm. Better yet, some students will get to research in a familiar cultural setting and hopefully get a better understanding of research planning and execution. This will be current and more helpful than bland case studies. Win-win.

  16. Lee October 9, 2017 at 9:30 am

    The NSRL and other levies ARE DESIGNED to reduce a further draw down of FOREIGN EXCHANGE . . . . would Barbadians prefer a sharp devaluation instead? We will come to that like Guyana and Jamaica did thirty years ago when their US Dollar reserves FELL TO NOTHING !!


  17. John Jones
    John Jones October 9, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    We don’t need a rocket science to see that it’s unfair and over bearing!! We pay taxes like bush already ( income tax at 20% of earnings, consolidated tax for a couple of years, solid waste tax for a point in time, VAT @17.5%, and everything is now compounded with the NSRL… if taxes where converted to weights we could walk crawl or run a meter!!

  18. Carson C Cadogan October 9, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    If Eddy Abed would tell the private sector to pay the Govt. about half of what they owe it, about $335million.

    The NSRL will revert to its original 2% as soon as the money is paid into to the Govt. coffers.

    But he nor CHARLES HERBERT want to tall the private sector that simple truth.

  19. Carson C Cadogan October 9, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    If you want to see the NSRL go away, PAY YOUR OVERDUE TAXES.

    Not only BLACK PEOPLE must pay their taxes.


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