General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers Roslyn Smith (right) speaks as President of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Akanni McDowall (centre) listens.

Gov’t told: Step up tax collection efforts

If government steps up on its tax collection measures, there will be no need for the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL).

This was the frank assertion coming from General Secretary of the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Roslyn Smith, as she raised issues of concern during the Social Partnership Meeting yesterday at the Hilton Barbados.

“Government is guilty of not collecting revenue,” she lamented, highlighting several taxes including corporation tax and the value added tax as areas where efficient collection could make a significant difference.

“Some persons have not paid VAT since its inception,” she said, adding that once this was collected, it would solve a lot of the fiscal problems being experienced.

“We know that once the VAT is collected, it would solve a lot of our problems…We know that through this method, the generation from this collection, we might not need the NSRL. Just calling on the government; enough is enough! It makes no sense creating a new tax and then you do not seek to police it, and I am saying that at this point in time where the NSRL being 10 per cent, if you have to keep it, let it be up to five per cent. If you collect the VAT, it may outstrip the collection of the NSRL,” she continued.

Also adding that the Betting and Gaming Levy should be brought back under the Customs and Excise department for the collection of this revenue, she insisted that the NSRL be put on hold.

Agreeing with the sentiments expressed by many of those across the labour movement and the private sector that the increase of the National Social Responsibility Levy was too high, she questioned how effective it had been in the format for which it had been originally created.

“We were told that it was for namely the hospital and Sanitation Service Authority; it was to buy trucks. My understanding is that you have only purchased a hoist and the minister had said that the expected revenue would have been $40 million. However, we would have raised $60 million, so it is a case that you are receiving funds but we want to know how that money is being spent, because I am not seeing any development within the SSA. Far from that, we are seeing aspects of privatisation,” she stated.

Speaking on the issue of salary increases across the public sector, she insisted that it was time that there was closure on the matter, setting a September 30 deadline for such. (JMB)

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