President of the Barbados Small Business Association (SBA), Dean Straker.

Change the model

Straker: Government cannot tax its way out

President of the Small Business Association, Dean Straker, has insisted that a country cannot tax its way out of a fiscal problem. Furthermore, he has called for a new paradigm or new model for our business development in Barbados.

Straker made the comments while delivering welcoming remarks at the Small Business Awards Ceremony and Reception at the Radisson Aquatica Resort.

The President contended that Barbados’ economic performance of the past decade confirms that “our model of business development needs to be revisited”.

According to him, “We have struggled to maintain commendable fiscal performance, with little or no growth annualised over this period, resulting in a greater tax grab by Government to support its operations and the delivery of social services.”

He pointed out that the policies have had a demoralised impact on business, with the latest taxes announced this year – the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) and the two per cent commission tax on foreign exchange (FX) transactions – destabilising several firms, small and medium alike.

“Our Secretariat has been receiving updates from members on the increased cost to their operations because NSRL and the FX tax, and the challenge of either passing on this cost to the consumer or reducing staff to keep their doors open,” Straker said.

He stated that a sector that contributes 61 per cent of private sector jobs and 64 per cent to GDP, is worthy of greater consideration of policy to ensure this group is enfranchised to contribute even more.

Moving forward, he indicated that the first order of business is an enabling framework for which they in the SBA applaud Minister with responsibility for Small Business Development, Donville Inniss and his Ministry for laying the National Policy Framework for MSME Development in Parliament, in February of this year.

“This policy has several provisions that can strengthen the sector. We now call on the Ministry to move with alacrity to ensure the administration and implementation of this policy,” he suggested.

In terms of Small Business Week, the President stated that it represents the SBA’s opportunity to focus national attention on the significant contribution being made to economic and social development, by the many brave and visionary men and women to start a micro, small or medium enterprise.

“It is against this background that each year we include an awards component in the week, for us to celebrate those businesses that continue to excel and maintain a competitive advantage. We focused this year’s week of activities on the theme, ‘Exploring a New Paradigm for the Survival of SMEs’,” Straker added. (NB)

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