The island’s small businesses are planning to turn up the heat on Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler over the austerity measures announced during last month’s Budget presentation.
Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder told Barbados TODAY her executive would on Monday seek a mandate from the membership for a national response to the measures, which include a 500 per cent rise in the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), climbing from two per cent to ten per cent; a two per cent tax on foreign exchange transactions and increases to the excise duty on petrol.
While Holder kept any proposed action close to her chest, she suggested a decision would come at Monday’s meeting.
“We very well will need to get a mandate from our membership relative to a national response on this issue [NSRL]. We have to go to our membership and say, ‘well members, this is the reality and we need to get a mandate from you,’” Holder said.
The SBA executive said it was important for all concerned to present a united response to the measures, which many economists have predicted will have a crippling effect on the entire private sector, as well as Barbadians on a whole.
She added that her organization was not alone in its attempt to stave off the impact, revealing that other private sector organizations were mobilizing their membership to formulate a collective response.
This development follows closely on the heels of last weekend’s threat of industrial action by the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW) unless Sinckler rescinds the tax measures by July 1 or institutes a “coping subsidy” for public servants until salary negotiations are concluded.
NUPW President Akanni McDowall said that the tax measures would drastically increase the cost of living by at least 15 per cent, adding this would be too much for public servants to bear.