Democratic Labour Party (DLP) spokesperson for entrepreneurship and business Ryan Walters is concerned that small car dealerships could be negatively affected by plans to put the brakes on irregularities to create a level playing field for the market.
On Friday, following a tour of the National Automotive Sales and Service Company Ltd (NASCO), Minister of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Dwight Sutherland revealed that in addition to legislation and a new vehicle policy to govern the importation and assembling of vehicles, issues relating to concessions and taxes on electric and hybrid vehicles would be examined, and a new registry of assemblers for vehicles in Barbados would be implemented.
However, Walters said while the DLP is all for fair competition, they are concerned about the timing of the changes. He said at this time, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all types of businesses and noted that smaller dealerships are also seeing a fall-off in business.
“The timing is definitely off and we also have to look to make sure that we don’t disadvantage a whole set of small business activity that falls within this used car dealership business.
“A used car dealer would have employees but he would also have contract workers. He also has the guys that he buys the air filter from, the oil filter from, the guys that service the cars, the guys that wash and prepare the cars, the guys that deliver the cars and the mechanic that might do the little engine checks.
“So to come and insinuate that you might kind of disadvantage these small businesses now, in a time where everyone is fighting for survival and trying to put food on the table … Small business guys are trying to run their business out of their own pocket and trying to feed their families,” Walters said.
Over a year ago, NASCO officials lamented that some third party vehicle importers were cheating the system, through importing them into a lower tax bracket and being able to sell them at a cost cheaper than what is considered fair market price. (AH)