Barbadians will no longer have to pay road tax should the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) form the next Government.
This revelation came from the party’s economic advisor Dr Clyde Mascoll, who explained that instead vehicle owners would be required to pay a small tax on gas.
Mascoll, who was tasked with the responsibility of explaining how the BLP intends to pay for the plans contained in the pages of its manifesto, which was launched at Kingsland, Christ Church tonight, said that in the spirit of equity, commercial vehicles that were more than average users of the roads would be required to pay more.
“We currently have something called a road tax. Do you know that road tax for a commercial vehicle is only $400 while those of you have bigger vehicles have to pay $900 and all sort of things. That has to change because the tax does not make sense,” he said.
“We are abolishing the road tax. However we can’t be irresponsible so what we are going to do is shift the tax towards the business community. Those people who use the road most, should pay most. It is called equity and justice. We are going to transfer the road tax to a small tax on fuel so those that are on the road all day with heavy vehicles would pay proportionally,” he added, evoking incessant applause from the massive crowd.
The noted economist further explained that all of the plans in the BLP manifesto had been subjected to two years of research and all of their costs had been calculated.
Mascoll stressed that contrary to concerns expressed by the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP), the promise of restoring free tertiary education, removing the controversial National Social Responsibility Levy and raising non-contributory pensions, were not pipe dreams.
He argued that because of the dropout rate at the University of the West Indies, Government actually saved $90 million instead of the 35 million that they had intended to save when they introduced the measure in 2013.
“Rather than using that saving to pay down on the $200 million that it owed to the University of the West Indies, it instead went to all kinds of individuals in this country to make them rich,” Mascoll charged.
The economist further suggested that through debt re-profiling and proper prioritization of public expenditure, an increase in non-contributory pensions could be afforded to assist the more vulnerable.
“We are increasing non-contributory pensions from $155 to $225 per week and it would only cost the Government $17 million to do it. But do you know that this Government has not paid the NIS [National Insurance Scheme] the contributions to the non-contributory pensions for the last two to three years?
“Do you know that this Government has not paid the NIS contributions for public sector workers for the last four years? Yet they can talk.” Mascoll said.