Minister of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship Kerrie Symmonds has promised to freeze the price of freight and remove value added tax (VAT) on some personal care products if the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) wins the upcoming General Election.
Speaking Saturday at the launch of the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) 2022 election manifesto at the Island Inn Hotel, Aquatic Gap, Bay Street, Symmonds suggested that the cost of freight impacts the cost of goods to consumers. He explained that prior to the COVID-19 pandemic a 20 ft container could be sourced in China or Korea for about US$3,000. However, today, the same size container cannot be accessed for less than US$15,000. Moreover, a 40 ft container may even be as much as US$25, 000 to US$30,000.
Stressing that he empathised with the cries and concerns of the public regarding the cost of living, the St. James South incumbent explained that the decision was made to freeze the price of freight in the hope of bringing them down to pre-COVID prices.
He said: “People express, rightly so, the concern about the surge in prices. But every so often we’re talking about imported prices due to the fact that just transportation itself, via access to a container, has tripled and quadrupled due to the logistical challenges and disruption foisted on us by COVID. And we respond positively in that way by putting a freeze on prices by taking us to the point we were back in 2019.
“And equally ,we commit and pledge to the removal of VAT on critical items of personal care, whether they be sanitary napkins, diapers for young people and the elderly, antiperspirants, multivitamins. Those are the areas which are fundamental to personal care and where we will remove VAT,” Symmonds stressed. (KC)