The privately-run public transport sector is complaining that it was not consulted by the Mia Mottley-led administration before the announcement of today’s budgetary measures, which a top official of the transport sector said will hit operators and owners hard.
Interim Chairman of the Association of Public Transport Operators (APTO) Morris Lee said while Government officials met with the Social Partners in preparation for
the Budget, public service vehicle (PSV) owners and operators enjoyed no such privilege.
“We did not have the privilege of being invited to any pre-Budget discussions like the Social Partners. They met with corporate Barbados and they met with the unions
. . . . They didn’t call us in for any pre-Budget consultation. We are anxiously awaiting a meeting with the Minister of Finance to be able to discuss the measures which on the very surface appear to have a very negative impact on the industry,” Lee stressed.
Mottley today announced in Parliament that her Government would abolish the road tax from July 1, 2018 and replace it with a fuel tax of 40 cents per litre of gasoline and diesel and five cents on kerosene.
Lee said even though a careful analysis of the fiscal measures had to be done and clarity sought, the introduction of the fuel tax would increase the cost of doing business.
“A careful analysis of the budgetary proposals has to be done because there are some items that need clarification. On the surface of it, it appears as though it may significantly increase the cost of doing business. That being said, we are more than willing to work with the new ministers . . . to get any questionable matters resolved,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“The areas that are of concern to us relate to the impact of the tax on the fuel, given the quantum of fuel that was used by the industry, as well as the interpretation of the road tax . . . because the private vehicles are not paying tax anymore as we understand it, but there seems to be some level of tax that PSVs have to pay,” the spokesman for the public service vehicle operators and owners said.