Less taxes, reduced costs and a return to bus fares for students are among some of the suggestions Bajans have provided for the island’s economic recovery.
The suggestions were put forward in the findings of a just released study from the University of the West Indies, conducted by Management lecturer Dwayne Devonish, and conducted in the weeks leading up to the just concluded Budget presentation.
“The strategies were diverse in nature and vary in severity… Most popular strategies were ‘tax and cost reduction’ strategies where calls were made for reduction in V.A.T and other related taxes, reduction in food imports and associated costs, and reduction in ‘reckless’ government spending on ‘unnecessary’ capital projects as well as the need for wage cuts or freezes within the public sector.
“Other strategies were ‘investment-oriented’ strategies and included heavier investments in developing and supporting prospective and newer entrepreneurial ventures in the local economy (e.g. incentives for new start-ups, lower taxes, etc), investments in alternative and renewable sources of energy to control costs and increase revenue, and investments in the agricultural industry,” the 2013 study revealed.
Increasing public sector productivity and efficiency were also among the top ten best strategies for inspiring economic recovery along with suggestions to attract more foreign direct investment.
Respondents however, expressed concern about whether these businesses setting up here were paying enough taxes or providing adequate streams of revenue to Barbados.
“While consumers were skeptical of tourism industry as a worthwhile economic driver, they believed that tourism stills plays a key role in the economic recovery effort but it requires major restructuring by (1) focussing on alternative or non-conventional markets, (2) developing more creative ways for attracting tourists to Barbados by developing the entertainment and creative sectors of the economy in ways that tourists can enjoy all aspects of Barbadian culture and society, and (3) supporting local businesses operating in the industry through better tax cuts and other incentives for revenue generation.
“Finally, Barbadian consumers made calls for the reinstitution of the bus fares for school children as many indicated that this has placed a huge burden on the public transport industry and by extension the local economy,” Devonish indicated in the study. (LB)