Economic hope

UPP issues mini-manifesto

If the nine-month-old United Progressive Party (UPP) wins the next election, there will be no massive layoffs of public servants, no sale of loss making state owned entities such as the Transport Board or the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), but Barbadians can look forward to a significant reduction of their tax load.

The party, which was launched back in February, was the first out the blocks today with the first in a series of “mini manifestos”, ahead of the election, constitutionally due by the middle of next year.

While promising to reduce the tax burden on Barbadians over a five-year period, UPP Leader Lynette Eastmond acknowledged that the productive sectors must be given time to grow.

However, as part of its 17-page New Economy Manifesto, she announced that her party would revert to a 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT), down from the current level of 17.5 per cent, which applies to most sectors with the exception of tourism which enjoys a special 7.5 per cent output rate.

As part of a comprehensive review of the island’s taxation framework, the UPP is also promising to remove “creeping” tax exemptions, offered by previous governments.

“We believe that the taxation burden of Barbadians should be reduced and we will engage in renewed efforts to broaden the tax base by removing the creeping exemptions which various governments have put in place over time,” Eastmond said, while suggesting that in its quest to relieve industries such as tourism, Government had actually placed the tax burden on households, which she said were finding it harder to buy basic foods.

UPP Leader Lynette Eastmond

However, the current Basket of Goods introduced by the Freundel Stuart administration on September 1, 2015 and in which several food items were exempted from VAT, is to remain in place even though the UPP remains worried that the island’s national debt currently standing at 144 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and the its level of international reserves have fallen to $549.7 million or 8.6 weeks of import cover as at September, while its deficit stands at over $300 million.

Eastmond, flanked during this morning’s press launch at the Courtyard Marriott by St Philip South candidate Bruce Hennis, St Michael North candidate Maria Phillips and UPP Campaign Manager Ambrose Grosvenor, therefore is not ruling out the idea of taking the island down the road of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

UPP Leader Lynette Eastmond was flanked by St Philip South candidate Bruce Hennis (left), Campaign Manager Ambrose Grosvenor (centre) and St Michael North candidate Maria Phillips (right) at today’s launch.

In fact, she said her party “will review all options for borrowing, including [going] to the IMF”, even as she strongly refuted the idea of a devaluation of the Barbadian dollar, presently pegged at two to one against the United States currency.

“The IMF is saying that they are not ruling out a devaluation because they must say that, but we are not ruling it in,” Eastmond said.

Overall, the UPP said its goal is to raise the living standards of Barbadians, who the party says are currently on average “poorer than the poorest people in the poorest state in the US”, with an annual income level of between $0 to $50, 000, when compared to Mississippi, which has a per capita GDP of $62,000.

The party is therefore seeking to achieve five per cent economic growth annually over the next five years and a per capita income of $110,000 over the next 25 years.

To do this, the UPP says much emphasis would be placed on the development of a “new creative economy” in which there would be commercialization of music, film, fine arts, craft, design and fashion by way of a technological driven platform over the next ten to 20 years, with potential earnings of US$1.5 billion annually.

“The creative industries is actually much larger than tourism, yet Barbados continues to simply focus on tourism. This needs to change,” Eastmond stressed, while describing the bread-and-butter tourism industry as “stale”.

With the international business sector also having taken a beating in recent years, Eastmond further suggested the time was ripe for the takeoff of the creative economy in which there is to be reduced dependence on fossil fuels and an estimated energy saving of $300 million.

“You have to see it as a sector that the Barbados government is willing to invest in the same way that it is willing to invest in tourism,” the UPP Leader said, while suggesting that a reformed CBC would have a vital role to play in the sector’s promotion and development.

At the same time, the UPP said it was willing to break the current monopoly held by the terrestrial state broadcaster by offering television licences to the private sector.

With respect to transportation, the UPP made it clear that it had “no intention of selling off all of the lucrative aspects of the transportation system in Barbados while leaving the Government and taxpayers with only the aspects requiring subsidization”.

With incessant calls for transparency and accountability in Government, Eastmond also said her government would approve a Freedom of Information Act and would deal frontally with the issue of corruption.

“Corruption is an expense to Government. Many people do not look at it that way but when the price of goods and services are higher because of nepotism, because of political connections or family connections, Government tends to have to pay more money and we can certainly cut expenditure if we seriously put an effort into eradicating corruption,” the UPP leader said, while promising to address the matter in detail in the party’s soon-to-be released Governance Manifesto.

The party is also promising to crackdown on Government bureaucracy and to introduce a new ticketing system for minor traffic offences where citizens can opt to pay a fine without attending court.

katrinaking@barbadostoday.bb

5 Responses to Economic hope

  1. luther thorne November 21, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    SOUNDS GOOD

    Reply
  2. Greengiant November 22, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Nothing on the critical areas of Education, Health, the Criminal Justice system or business registration, or Housing? UPP just playing for time. These political parties need to come to the people with clear policies, not partial proposals. This is typical of our political parties, Eastmond and company will just be an extension of the current ideologies. I want to see the lawyers out of our parliament, that includes Eastmond.

    No lawyers in our parliament. That’s the formula for our future development. House of assembly – Attorneys -at Law = Barbados prosperity.

    Reply
  3. Mark Adamson November 22, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Any serious reactivating and resurging of the greatest growth and developmental potentialities of this country out of this current prolonged political economic and financial depression must INVOLVE discussions and moves by various lead components of the various social, political, material and financial sectors to implement the following:

    1) A new model of development;

    2) A new model of governance;

    3) A new model of institutional finance.

    The below reproduced Facebook posting of recence does indicate where such models are implied and, as such, where these models are ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY if Barbados is to seriously come out of the dedevelopment and depressionary trajectory, which have largely come through persistence with the currently very flawed and failed westernist, oligarchist, exploitative and dependency models of development, governance and institutional finance.

    ———————————————————————————————————-

    Ian William Walker, Nanya Agul El,

    In view of the need for the bulk of voters across Barbados to vote for the candidates of the party and its coalition partners that present the greatest, most progressivist and people-centered developmentalist agenda for Barbados, I hereby help to state the following twenty five (25) fundamental objectives that – out of many others – will be helped brought about by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC), in rightful and dutiful association with those partners helping to form this future coalitional government of Barbados:

    1) The Abolition of Taxation;

    2) The Abolition of Interest Rates;

    3) The Abolition of Public Debt;

    4) The Abolition of ALL so-called Exchange Rates Parities with the Barbados Dollar;

    5) The Abolition of All Motor Vehicle Insurance;

    6) The making sure that the Real Actual Cost of Use of Money in Barbados is substantially reduced in the medium to long term;

    7) The making sure that the Money Turn Over Rate is substantially increased in this country;

    8) The establishment of a National Currency Board (NCB) to manage currency and financial credit flows within the country, and into and out of it;

    9) The legalization of the uses, by persons 18 years and over generally, and by persons of the approved professions, specifically, of marijuana and its various biological relatives, and the legalization of the specified and specific amounts of such that are consistent with the social, personal, recreational, religious, commercial, medicinal, and research purposes for which such plants, their main derivatives, and their uses will be put to, respectively;

    10) The making sure that there is almost total freedom of interaction between the nominal receipts of individuals, businesses and other relevant entities, and the nominal receipts that are to be made by the entities that would be charged with running the business and corporate affairs of the Seaport, Airport and at all other points of entry in this country, where there is the transacting of commercial goods and services entering/exiting Barbados;

    11) The making sure that locally based exporters of goods and services receive their transfers (nominal receipts) through the National Currency Board (NCB). These local exporters will get from the NCB, the equivalent amounts of local money/financial credits that local business people – in the like cases – will get from local people, businesses and entities, when getting/having got ownership of the identical/similar goods or uses of the identical/similar services to those goods and services that have been exported. In such cases the NCB will be deemed to be acting on the behalf of the overseas parties who will eventually own those goods and/or use those services, and who under the said contracts will either give foreign currency or foreign financial credits to the NCB which – in turn – will thereafter give to the locally based exporters the amounts in local transfers that are wholly due to them;

    12) The introduction of a regime of the assembling of aircraft, motor vehicles, missiles, satellites, the building of ships, etc for Barbados;

    13) The introduction of PARTNERSHIP ENTERPRISES to take the places of companies, ministries, statutory corporations, etc, and wherefore in every instance – before the coming about of such Enterprises – there would have had to be seen – in any business or governmental organizations in operation in this country – two or more persons involved in them. The incoming Partners will be the part owners of these enterprises – hence, the substantial elimination of the work system/culture in Barbados;

    14) The establishment of a Hire Purchase Relief Fund for persons (not businesses) who – under their respective hire-“purchase” contracts – will be proven to have had genuine difficulties in giving over monies to the relevant hire-“purchase” enterprises;

    15) The establishment of a Water Expense Relief Fund to help those persons who – at whatever times after its implementation – have proven genuine difficilties in repairing the receipts debts owed to the BWA type entity, as a result of the receipts challenges helped brought on by imbalances in their commercial industrial and other related affairs;

    16) The ensuring that NO foreigners whatsoever are able to own land spaces rights in this country – only that they may be permitted to lease such rights;

    17) The institution of a serious Regime of Rent Control over all residential, commercial and social accommodation in this country;

    18) The building of a modern efficient railway system for Barbados, to run back and forth on what is now the existing ABC/Ronald Mapp Highways;

    19) The introduction of specialized secondary school education, via the institution of Academies – the Abolition of the Common Entrance Exam – the introduction of an appropriate National Continuous Assessment Program – and the introduction of Full Zoning for Barbados, with some reasonable exceptions thereto;

    20) The building of a modern acute care 200 bed hospital for the north of the country;

    21) The implementation of a Proportional Representational Electoral System for all national elections of Barbados (elections of the Cabinet/Judges of the Supreme Court), to take the place of the very inadequate and deficient first past the post electoral system;

    22) The election of Judges to their Supreme Court positions in this country;

    23) The institution of Constituency Assemblies for Barbados – one per constituency – and whereby – within them – elected constituents – as members thereof – will have all opportunities to propose and debate the laws of this country;

    24) The establishment of a system of Parish Councils for Barbados;

    25) The removal of the Queen as head of the governmental system of Barbados – and the creation of an Executive Coalitional Republican System for this country, which (as earlier represented in (21 above) will itself be nationally elected.

    Also, I invite almost ALL of my Facebook contacts to VOTE for ALL the candidates of the Citizens’ Action Partnership/the People’s Democratic Congress in the next general elections in Barbados.

    Reply
  4. milli watt November 22, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I listening ………………..At the same time, the UPP said it was willing to break the current monopoly held by the terrestrial state broadcaster by offering television licences to the private sector.

    Reply
  5. Jus me November 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    Any body can make a better job than Fruendel “the nose”.

    Vote Ninja Man
    At least we see he got Ba**s

    Reply

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