Wednesday, April 17, 2024

No new taxes in Budget

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Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced there would be no new taxes introduced in the 2023/2024 Fiscal Year.

The general public will also be relieved to know there is no plan for massive layoffs in the public sector but there will be adjustments in the Stated-Owned Enterprises (SOE) sector. Wherever the SOE changes happen, there will be adjustments made by the Government to accommodate those people in every possible way.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday during the Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals 2023, Mottley said the address was geared towards discussing where the Government was taking the country and what was needed from each of its citizens.

Highlighting the Government’s willingness to recognise the challenges during the last two years due to COVID-19 and other global events, Mottley said her administration would reduce the principal by 25 per cent, if people paid in full, money owed to the Barbados Water Authority and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital between March 15 and September 15.

“Empowering all Barbadians, delivering dignity and opportunity for all is what this Government is here to do,” Mottley began. “This budget is about national transformation, about building a global society and a world class people by 2030. This budget ought to be upward, onward, Bajan Excellence 2030. That is the mission. Mission Transformation is our crusade to make Barbados truly global to accomplish excellence.”

In her eyes, Barbadians should be global citizens with Bajan roots.

Mottley, who is also the Minister of Finance, announced the following:

  1. Training will be a major facet in Mission Transformation inclusive of a comprehensive training programme for supervisory managers and another in customer service and hospitality.
  2. The National Training Initiative and Coursera will offer 15 000 courses with the aim of providing individuals with the skills in order for them to better themselves and open avenues of employment.
  3. Florida International University will be introducing a campus in Barbados within the next 12 months.
  4. Formalised parental training will be offered to guide parents who need assistance raising their children so that those children do not fall by the wayside.

Mottley did not elaborate on the specifics of all the numbers which detail Barbados’ fiscal situation at present, but said there has been a further reduction of Barbados’ debt. As of yesterday evening, the nation’s Gross International Reserves stood at $2.99 billion with another $200 million due from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Prime Minister said: “It is imperative we continue on this path and further reduce our debt to secure long term sustainability. To achieve this we will continue to prioritise prudent financial management, improve revenue collection and streamline our expenditure. We will also continue to explore innovative financing mechanisms that help us reduce our debt burden while also providing us with the necessary resources to invest in critical areas such as infrastructure, education and healthcare.”

A partial repayment of $74.8 million will be made out to 5 407 individual bondholders of Series B bonds who are on the register by March 31. Each of them will receive $17 500, with 2 627 of them being repaid in full. They incurred losses during the debt restructuring exercise in 2018 and the Prime Minister promised at that time that they would be looked after. (JC)

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