Independent Senator Alwin Adams has suggested that if the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) is successful, it should be used to provide sustainable funding for tertiary education in Barbados.
“I do not mean just at the University of the West Indies. I want to say that it is important because at the moment whatever else may be said students and others concerned are not convinced that the present system is working well. So I am suggesting that an initiative be taken, that part of the money coming from this tax ought to go into helping to set up a properly capitalized fund,” Adams suggested during debate on the Amendment of the National Social Responsibility Levy Bill 2017 in the Upper Chamber today.
Earlier this month Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler reported that Government had so far raked in over $50 million in revenues from the NSRL after it was increased by 400 per cent on July 1.
With the tax said to be performing well within expectations, the former principal of the Coleridge & Parry School called for support to be given to tertiary students since in his estimation the student revolving loan scheme was not working in their favour.
Adams also called for Government to enter into discussions with financial entities, such as the credit unions and the commercial banks, where there were “billions of dollars in excess liquidity”.
“The fact is we will get to know what the quantum ought to be and we will have a fully capitalized fund set up. Having set up the fund, all students particularly students from the disadvantaged communities whose parents would not be able to find the funds to pay the fees should have access to the funds.
“In this country no student should be having to run here and there in order to get funds to go to university. Once the criterias are met, then these students should have access to the funds,” Adams stressed.
“They should be able to administer the fund in a very professional manner to make sure that having seen the experience of former funds running into . . . bad debt, I am sure that that would not happen to this fund. Therefore the fund would be properly administered and students would know for sure they can go and have the funding so long as they have the necessary qualifications,” Adams explained.