President of the Barbados Egg and Poultry Producers Association (BEPPA) Carlyle Brathwaite is calling on fellow farmers to take advantage of the 50 per cent rebate on the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.
And while he did not believe that the agriculture sector should have been required to pay the controversial tax since farmers often get rid of their own solid waste, Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY any relief would help.
Following an outcry over the new tax which was introduced last year, Government announced that a 50 per cent remittance would be granted to owners of land being used for agricultural purposes, which has been verified by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management.
Brathwaite said that only a few of the over 3,000 independent farmers on the island who would benefit from the rebate “had gone ahead and done it”.
“It is critical to get that 50 per cent rebate. Suppose you have to pay $1,000, a 50 per cent rebate is $500. I know a chap who had to pay $1,400 . . . But even if it was one dollar, 50 per cent is still 50 per cent and you should get your rebate,” he said.
“I don’t think that the farmers are fully aware . . . of the rebate . . . When you are going to pay it you should get a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture, same as if you are paying any other tax as a farmer, so that it would show that you are a bonafide farmer and that would entitle you to the rebate.”
The BEPPA head said although he was not prepared to lobby the Government to remove the tax he would be listening very keenly to hear how long it intended to maintain it, since it was “a burden” on farmers.
In his December 16, 2014 ministerial statement, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler had promised that the Municipal Solid Waste Tax would be “revisited”.