Minister of Commerce Donville Inniss is insisting that the rate of duty should be lowered on imported hydraulic cement.
Following a meeting with officials of Trinidad Cement Limited (TCL) and Arawak Cement Limited, he said Government will be sticking to its decision to lower the tariff rate. He also suggested that the 60 per cent tariff, which was aimed at protecting cement produced in Barbados by the Arawak Cement Limited, might soon be at an end.
While acknowledging that the companies have concerns about the decision to lower the rate of duty on some types of cement entering Barbados, Inniss said that he explained the rationale behind Government’s decision.
He stressed that the intent was not to cause any harm, but more or less to help drive efficiencies in the system, and to ensure consumers got a better price on the much-needed raw material.
“We would have our differences on the methodologies employed and the policies being pursued, but, at the end of the day, we want to ensure that Arawak Cement Limited remains a viable entity in Barbados,” he said.
Noting that the company was in the midst of ongoing restructuring, he lauded Arawak Cement’s commitment to increasing exports of Portland Grey cement.
Group Chief Executive Officer Jose Seijo, General Manager of Arawak Cement limited Rupert Greene, Business Consultant David Inglefield and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Commerce Philmore Best also attended the meeting. (BGIS)