The long-awaited transition of the Customs & Excise Department into the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) is close at hand.
Without giving a specific date, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler reported this morning that Government was in the process of dealing with outstanding appointments for customs officers, while emphasizing that the BRA merger must be completed as soon as possible.
Following the signing of a $30 million loan agreement with the Latin American Development Bank for a Tax Administration Infrastructure Reform Programme, Sinckler also said an amendment is to be made to the Pensions Act to address the concerns of the officers.
“I believe the staff of the Auditor General’s Office, the Accountant General, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Civil Service and PAD [Personnel Administration Division] have come to a conclusion [on] how to deal with that to ensure those persons who transition are not disaffected in terms of their full pension rights,” he said.
Since April 2015 Government has been seeking to absorb the operations of customs into the central revenue authority. However that move has been fraught with delays, with unionized customs officers insisting that the two contentious matters be settled ahead of the planned merger.