Prime Minister, Mia Mottley has been lauded for punching far above her weight over Government’s first ten months in office by providing disposable income for working-class Barbadians while battling a raging economic crisis.
In fact, Chief Economic Counsellor to the PM, Ambassador, Dr Clyde Mascoll contends that the social and economic measures taken by Government over the last ten months have significantly eased the burden of taxation on the country’s working class.
Addressing a town hall meeting of the BLP branches of St. George North and South constituencies, Mascoll urged Barbadians, to look back at the party’s election manifesto for proof that its promises were being kept.
“These are all achievements of a Government that was supposed to be solving a fiscal crisis and there is a fiscal crisis, but what is remarkable is that in the midst of a fiscal crisis, Government has been able to achieve all of these objectives,” said Mascoll.
The economist pointed to the country’s foreign reserves which were near 400 million last May, but ten months later, stood at 1.1 billion dollars.
He also mentioned the country’s domestic and foreign debt crises which, according to him, Government had “dealt with” by placing a heavy burden on “the capitalist class” while shielding the most vulnerable.
“…so the people who own commercial banks, insurance companies and financial institutions played a major role, because over the years since independence we relied on labour to make the adjustments.
“The last administration did the same when they decided to freeze the wages of all Barbadians while increasing taxes from pillar to post. We asked the people who own capital to make the major contribution in the restructuring of debt in Barbados. So we were able to give relief,” said Mascoll.
“We replaced the NSRL with taxes that were based on the view that many hands make light work. We introduced a fuel tax so that people would make a contribution based on their usage of the road. It is fair and it is just and that is how you go about doing things the right way,” he added.
During his extensive assessment of Government’s economic policies during an address entitled The Budget Demystified, Mascoll blasted critics of Government’s policies, arguing that they should “know better.”
He instead argued that the recent increase in reverse tax credit from $650 to $1300 for persons earning $25,000 per year or less, the reduced income tax rates for people earning under $35,000 and the non contributory pension which was raised from $155 to $225/week were all examples of Government’s intention to protect those at the bottom.
“Consumption comes from disposable income, which is what you earn, minus what the Government takes away from you in taxes. So if over the last couple years, our earnings were contained by Government’s refusal to increase salaries and then Government took away your income via taxation, it means that your ability to consume was compromised.
“What she [Prime Minister Mottley] has done is remarkable even though people don’t want to say it. She has now reduced the income tax of Barbadians substantially, but protect the people at the bottom by increasing the reverse tax credit.
“It is time to respect and admit the quality of leadership that this country has. You can say what you like, but there is a reality: the leadership of the Prime Minister has been remarkable,” said Mascoll.