Tax appeal

Sir Henry fraser renews call for 20 per cent hike on sweet drinks

An independent Senator is again appealing to Government to increase the excise tax on sweetened beverages –  this time by a further 20 per cent.

Stressing that obesity and non-communicable diseases were “an extremely serious problem”, Professor Emeritus of the University of the West Indies Faculty of Medicine Sir Henry Fraser said he believed an increase in the tax to 30 per cent would better encourage Barbadians to consume less sugary drinks.

“I therefore use this forum to make a plea, while approving this bill, that we should forthwith, immediately look towards legislation that will increase it by a further 20 per cent, which we can expect both to help the coffers and to make a difference to the calorie consumption,” he said in the Senate today during the reading of the validation of the Excise Tax Bill.

It was back in June 2015 that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had imposed a ten per cent tax on sweetened beverages in an effort to persuade Barbadians to consume less sugar.

The excise tax, which took effect on August 1, 2015, was applied to the cost of locally produced and imported sweetened beverages such as carbonated soft drinks, juice drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices. The tax is levied on the value of the product before the Value Added Tax is applied.

At the time Sinckler had announced that the tax should generate in excess of $10 million in revenue for the remainder of the financial year 2015/2016. He had also promised that after two years it would be reviewed to determine how it affected the behaviours of producers, importers and consumers and whether it should be extended or intensified.

Three months after the tax took effect Minister of Health John Boyce reported that it was not having the desired impact, as Barbadians were still drinking large quantities of their preferred sugary beverages.

Barbados TODAY investigations had revealed also that at the end of the first six months of the tax taking effect only $2 million was actually collected by the Treasury.

However, the island’s leading beverage manufacturer Banks Holdings Limited had said that its business had suffered “a definite hit”.

Addressing his colleagues in the Upper House on Wednesday, Sir Henry, who has been calling for the tax to be increased to 30 per cent since its implementation, said it was “very sad” that the recommendations from himself, as well as several other individuals and organizations for the tax to be increased were ignored even though the tax had raked in only some $8 million, according to reports.

“For a $4 drink ten per cent is 40 cents. And most Barbadians now don’t concern themselves with any coinage less than a silver dollar. People literally ignore the nickels, dimes and 25-cent pieces. Therefore that 40-cent increase, based on the feedback that I have had from two supermarkets and others I deal with, it does not appear that there have been much of an impact on consumption,” the medical practitioner said.

“I would like to think that we can now make a 20 per cent addition. We can improve the Government coffers and we might have a significant impact on the consumption of soft drinks by young people, especially children,” he contended.

15 Responses to Tax appeal

  1. straight talk February 28, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    You all would make thee dog sick with foolishness you does talk.

    • Mark My Word March 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      increase the excise tax on sweetened beverages – this time by a further 20 per cent and the people will buy SUGAR and make their own drinks, the street vendors will make MORE money .

  2. Lennox hewitt February 28, 2018 at 11:22 pm

    U like u stupid doe proffessor

  3. Carson C. Cadogan February 28, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    I stop drinking sweet drinks from 1st. Jan. 2018.

    Fellow Bajans are encouraged to do the same from right now. We dont have to wait on any increase of taxes on sweet drinks.

    The evidence is mounting that sweet drinks are just plain garbage. And Barbados being the cut off body parts capital of the World, we need to do our selves a big favour and stay forty yards away from sweet drinks.

  4. Clarion March 1, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Yes. That revenue could be used @ the QEH.

  5. Ralph W Talma March 1, 2018 at 2:30 am

    Yes. The Senator is right. There are lots of very big Bajans out there. And, their illnesses are a drain on inter alia the health budget. So, let us do now.

  6. Roverp March 1, 2018 at 5:41 am

    These types of taxes have proven to be ineffective in many countries in reducing the incidents of consumption and are merely revenue raising.

  7. Sheron Inniss March 1, 2018 at 6:57 am

    When people realize that they are harming themselves maybe they will change but the tax does not seem to be making a difference.
    I ain’t paying no extra for who end up at the QEH for the choices they make. Only mine.

  8. MsBemused March 1, 2018 at 7:54 am

    But still you expect to have a lucrative sugar industry. What pray tell me do you expect to do with the sugar after you spend millions of dollars in financing and loan payments in this sector then to tax it so heavily that nobody wants it. You all does just sit behind desks and draw salaries off the backs of tax payers but in return give BS. If the same sugar by the way of sweetened drinks and juices doesn’t sell there goes jobs from the manufacturing of these products. Next are you going to hit the bakeries, cause clearly you all think that sand is an input in the manufacturing of bread and not sugar. So down the line it goes. Effectively killing off the little manufacturing there is in the country with all these taxes.

  9. Mark Rosmar March 1, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Good points everyone. I personally prefer education programs as opposed to taxing everything that someone has determined that ‘the great unwashed’ shouldn’t be allowed to have.

  10. Alex Alleyne March 1, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Simple, tell the manufacture(s) to put less sugar in the drinks or don’t send no more to BIM.
    Why you all always thinking of soaking the consumer. Why not up the taxes on the “big-mout-drinks you all use daily for a TRANQUILIZER.

    • Jennifer March 1, 2018 at 11:14 am

      Well said Alex as if they care about anybody’s health. Only slaves need to to told what to do and controlled. These people creates the problems then gives you the solution every time. Cigarettes same thing, alcohol same thing, TV same thing, every problem in the book.

  11. Falernum March 1, 2018 at 9:20 am

    Selective taxation discourages overuse and raises revenue at the same time. No one wants to prevent you from using a harmful substance (sic tobacco), but why should we all suffer your recklessness? Let the uneducated idiots among us continue burdening our health services ON THEIR ON THEIR OWN DIME if self-abuse is their priority to die badly !!! WAKE UP – Processed sugar in sweet drinks feeds cancer !!!

  12. jrsmith March 1, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    People in Barbados still stuck in the dark ages , politicians have bajans so*****d up ,they say what they like when they like and also do what they like when they like ……….We have a sewage situation in Barbados and all the politicians is doing what they good at hiding, so no one could ask them any questions ……..
    But seeing the difference another tax on whom , try this for size the tax hype on sugar drinks , they know people would still buy the drinks …………
    Just like rip of Britain , who pays, the people ………………………
    Wouldn’t it be better the government do some testing they then set a standard at what manufactures should follow and label they drinks accordingly………………………..
    But then a government who is in over they heads , cant see that far ahead ……………….

  13. hcalndre March 1, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Here goes Falernum which I know has to contain plenty more sugar is saying what should happen to the users, these people that want to tax every thing in sight only reason is to bring revenue to the coffers, what you all suggest the soft drink lovers should use? more sugar in their home made teas and beverages. Why have you smart people produce a product that has much less sugars or drop the prices 20% on what you know the people and children will go for in a big way that is healthy, I know where a gallon of milk costs $6 bajan dollars and in Barbados a qt. cost $7.00. As some one mention, why you now want to spend millions on a sugar crop when you want to discourage the use of sugars, is that like growing tobacco and telling people not to smoke it.


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