Friday, March 1, 2024

‘Tough’ water tax


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Barbadians are being warned to brace for a possible increase in the price of milk as a result of the new tax on water bills. And maybe even chicken as well.

Word of this has come from dairy farmer and past president of the Beef and Dairy Producers’ Association, Brian Allan, as well as president of the Egg and Poultry Producers’ Association, Stephen Layne, who said their associations were making representation to the Ministry of Agriculture for an ease in the new tax.

In last Monday’s Mini-Budget, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that from July 1, there would be $1.50 added per day on domestic water bills. For commercial entities, the rate would be 50 per cent of the water bill, the proceeds divided between the Sanitation Service Authority and the Barbados Water Authority.

Both men predicted that farmers’ water bills could double as a result.

He lamented that dairy farmers had not seen an increase in prices in eight years.

“Now this will increase my water bill by 50 per cent which is equivalent to about $1 500 a month.

“And the chicken farmers and pig farmers use even more water than us, from my understanding,” he said. “They already said chicken could go up and we would have to look at milk prices as well because it will be a factor we will have to consider.

“So I think the farmers need a little bit of consideration, maybe a different level. Maybe there should be another tier in that system for agriculture.”

Layne said the poultry industry would be having a meeting on Thursday at the Barbados Agricultural Society’s headquarters to discuss the issue.

He explained they were drafting correspondence to the Ministry of Agriculture on the tax which would not just be from the poultry industry alone.

Layne said poultry farming was water-intensive as chickens needed lots of water like humans. Equipment also had to be sanitised and pens washed down regularly to meet phytosanitary regulations.

However, both Allan and Layne hastened to add they understood the need for the tax and were all for helping with the island’s recovery. (HLE)


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