The Barbados Bankers’ Association (BBA) is suggesting that Government broadens its tax base in order to both increase its tax intake and lower taxes.
BBA President Donna Wellington said too much emphasis was being placed on a small group of taxpayers “sitting in offices behind a desk” while several other categories of workers were not being asked to pay their just due.
“The professionals, for example, are usually the ones that are targeted. We have a lot wider society and a lot more going on than just people sitting in offices behind a desk. There are lots of people – from the coconut vendor all the way back up – people are making money in this country in all sort of different, innovative ways. And I am not actually convinced that our tax system covers everybody that is working. It only covers a part of the work force, and if we broaden then there would be more in the tax base and perhaps everybody wouldn’t have to pay as much if the tax base was wider,” Wellington said during last night’s live broadcast of the Central Bank’s economic forum, It Matters Fiscally.
She said while discussions continued about the need for Government to improve productivity, reduce inefficiencies and consolidate some state assets, serious consideration must also be given to cutting the public sector wage bill.
“There is absolutely no way we can continue at the pace we are at in terms of spending. Government’s spending is way too high given what we bring in, and every good corporation and every good entity knows we only spend what we have. That is the way you run a house. That is the way you run everything.”
Meantime, Executive Director of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Barbados (ICAB) Reginald Farley also called for Government to urgently reduce the fiscal deficit.
Farley said Government’s high expenditure, which included transfers to some state entities, needed to be reviewed.
“One way of reducing expenditure is to reduce your debt. I am an advocate of appropriate divestment of state-own enterprises,” he said.
The former Opposition Barbados Labour Party parliamentarian also said Government was not using technology effectively to increase productivity.
“So we really need to reinvent Government, not just cut Government as Government exists because that will not achieve much, but to change the way that Government works,” Farley said.