The dire state of Government’s finances is the only reason an amendment to the Value Added Tax (VAT) was the first order of business in the first sitting of Parliament for 2015.
Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley made the charge today as the House of Assembly debated the VAT (Amendment) Bill 2015.
“It is the first order of business on an Order Paper that has 12 or 13 matters, including matters that have been on the Order Paper for over three months or four months, but this matter is being dealt with in all of its stages because Government has to plug a hole. That is the reality,” she said.
Mottley also questioned the difference in statistics released by the Barbados Statistical Services (BSS) and the Central Bank of Barbados.
She argued that it must be a cause of concern when the Central Bank indicated that the economic decline since 2007 was three per cent, while the BSS said it was 24 per cent.
“How can the Cabinet and Government have before it two public entities whose judgement as to the performance of this economy in the last seven years is as wide as that of the Central Bank and the Statistical Services, bearing in mind that the Statistical Services is the only entity in law entitled to collect statistical data?” Mottley said.
“It is way outside the margin of error and it is a matter that ought to attract the attention of the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet.”
The St Michael North East MP said what Barbadians were experiencing on a day-to-day basis was more reflective of a 24 per cent decline over the last seven years.