Professionals have been put on notice that they could soon require clearance from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS).
This follows the recent Budget announcement that they must have a tax clearance certificate from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) to practise in Barbados.
Minister of Labour Dr Esther Byer made the disclosure to reporters this evening, while pointing out the dwindling NIS Fund was challenged due mainly to people not making their contributions.
“It was in the last Budget speech that the Minister [of Finance] spoke to tax clearance certificates for professionals. National Insurance is also moving in a similar direction. So those professionals would need to say that they are compliant with National Insurance as well before they move forward,” warned Dr Byer.
“That is just a proposal at this point, but you can see then where it would be useful and necessary to have certainly a relationship and a sharing of information between the BRA and the National Insurance [Scheme],” she said.
She revealed that the Government would be looking seriously at the issue of “formalizing the economy”, which should see more people who are currently being considered informal becoming formal and making their contribution to the NIS fund.
“If we can get the persons in the informal economy to contribute, which is more important now that we are fazing our the non-contributory pension, before a lot of persons in the informal economy would not pay NIS, those self employed persons, but they knew that when the time came they could have employed for a non-contributory pension. They can’t do that anymore so they need to realize that they need to contribute now,” she explained.
The announcement that professionals now require a tax clearance certificate has caused a number of service industry operators to express concern that businesses could be forced to close, not as a result of them not going forward for the certificate but the ability of the BRA to issue those certificates in a timely manner given its teething problems.