Former PM takes issue with some tax policies

FORMER Barbados Prime Minister, Owen Arthur has taken issue with some of the tax policies of the Mia Amor Mottley administration. On Monday night at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, where he delivered a lecture, Arthur said that he does not believe there should be taxes on imports as is the case with the taxes levied on the tourism industry during the Budget presented in June this year.

He said that the Value Added Tax which his previous Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration had introduced was done so in order to avoid levying taxes on exports and investments. Tourism, a service industry, is the country’s main export, and according to him, “the move to have taxes on tourism is the reversal of an important policy.”

On the issue of the VAT, Arthur said he does not think that there should be a tax system in Barbados where there are multiple taxes, which appears to be the case at present. He recalled that when the VAT was introduced it replaced about 11 other taxes that made the system much simpler.

Arthur who spoke on the topic The IMF and Caribbean, also argued that growth and development comes through an expansion of existing enterprises and the creation of new ones and for that to happen you have to have high rates of return.

The former MP for St. Peter touched as well on the increase in corporation tax announced in the June Budget as well. He explained that under Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), entities pay taxes at source. “I brought Corporation taxes from 40 per cent to 25 per cent and lowered to 12 per cent to make Barbados the most competitive economy in CARICOM. I would not agree for it to be carried back up to 30 per cent for no reason,” he said. (JB)

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