One of the Barbados’ newest political parties and the the umbrella trade union organization have reacted to the 2017-2018 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals presented by Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, on Tuesday afternoon.
In its response, the United Progressive Party (UPP) said Government could make a major financial saving by reducing the number constituencies in the country.
The UPP argued that Barbados requires fundamental reforms and the number of constituencies should be cut from 30 to 25 or even 21.
“If we are serious about reforms we should start at the top. There is now $10 million allocated to Parliament. Constituents across Barbados have indicated that there would be no fall-out from such a measure as they feel underserved by representatives,” the UPP said in a statement.
“As far as the delivery of services in the community is concerned, these will be enhanced by using technology to assess needs and to map the delivery of resources; upgrading government departments for the more effective delivery of services and empowering non-governmental organizations, charities and community-based organizations.”
The UPP also addressed the issue of corruption arguing that it is one of “the simple ways of reducing the the deficit”.
“Corruption and nepotism generated by the leadership in our country has now become systemic and entrenched and is too heavy a weight to bear for small open economies like Barbados. Corruption has increased the national debt by inflating the cost of goods and services purchased by Government,” the UPP said.
“It has also driven away foreign investors who may suffer a penalty for bribing public officials abroad. More profoundly it has destroyed opportunities because we did not choose the best people for implementation, but chose our teams based on political or family connections.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the increase in the level of taxation, General Secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Association, Dennis De Peiza, said his organization “has an expectation that there will be a positive outcome to the current public sector wages and salaries negotiations”.
De Peiza argued that Government’s strategy of imposing increased taxation on an already overburdened society will create a drag on the economy and increase the cost of living.
“CTUSAB is mindful of the impact which the proposed taxation measures could have on the spending power of workers,” the General Secretary said.
“With the introduction of an increase from two per cent to ten per cent in the payment of National Social Responsibility Levy; increase in the excise tax on gasoline by 25 cents per litre from $0. 74 to $0.99 and on diesel by $0.24 from $0.20 to $0.44 and a commission rate of 2 per cent to be charged on the sale of all foreign currency that extends to all wire transfers, credit card transactions, and over the sales of foreign currencies, it can be expected that these will drive up the cost of living to members of the public as consumers.”