Daily Archives: March 16, 2006

Barbados Government Cash Flow Problem – Tip of the Iceberg?

Barbados_Road.jpg

Road Unrepaired For 2 Years

Just what is going on around here?

At the same time that the Government of Barbados is going hat-in-hand begging for hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign loans to stage a few cricket tests, roads like the one above have not been repaired since being washed out two years ago.

No Money for National Drug Plan Payments – For 3 Months

Payments to the nation’s pharmacists have been stopped for three months due to a “cash flow problem”.

According to a CBC article here, Health Minister Jerome Walcott has informed the Barbados Pharmacy Owners Association that the 4.7 million dollars owed to them for January and February is now making it’s way through Parliament. Minister Walcott makes it sound like the monthly pharmacy payment was some sort of a surprise to him.

Perhaps the Minister can give the pharmacists permission to delay their VAT payments until the Government’s payments to them come through? (Oh – what’s that you say, Mr. Walcott? hmmmmm… I didn’t think you’d approve that.)

…Mainly because the Government of Barbados is spending way more than it will ever recoup in revenues. And with the Cricket World Cup 2007 fast approaching, the spending is reaching a level of frenzy only previously seen when drunken sailors stumbled into Rachel Pringle’s “hotel” on St. George Street in 1789.

Drug Plan Benefits to Be Halved – Taxes To Increase

Health Minister Jerome Walcott’s permanent solution to the “cash flow problem” is to slash benefits by 50% and download the cost onto the end-users. Of course, don’t expect your taxes to be reduced! According to the CBC article, here is what the President of the Barbados Pharmacy Owners Association had to say about the future for Bajans…

While the pharmacists are expecting to be paid soon, the president of their association, Jeff Browne, says government is likely to fall short in its payment for drugs again this fiscal year.

However, private pharmacies are claiming that government is considering the introduction of a system under which patients would pay half of the cost of medicines under the national drug service.

The president of the Barbados Pharmacy Owners Association, Jeff Browne, has told CBC, that government has moved to increase the quantities of drugs in the new prescription pricing guide, which takes effect from the first of April.

He says given these demands government is likely to fall short fall of its payments, unless the health minister either seeks several supplementaries or introduces co-payment.

Co-payment is a method whereby the public is required to pay a part of the cost of medication up front from private pharmacies.

Mr. Browne claims that an attempt was made to introduce this method in January but it was rejected by the social partners as an act of political suicide.

Pension Age Increases Driven By Government “Cash Flow Problem”

Recently, the Government also raised the age of retirement. Why? Simple… Barbados is running out of money, so Bajans will have to work longer and pay more taxes. That retirement you had planned? Forget about it. According to Rawle Eastmond, the Minister of Labour, all previous agreements are off.

Says Eastmond, Bajans will “just have to plan their lives better.”

Yes – as in “Don’t plan to believe anything you’ve been told about the Government Pension that you’ve been contributing to all these years.”

You see, all those Pension Contributions have not been going into a Government Pension Account… they have been going into the general revenues and the government has spent it all and more.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, and the good ship Barbados continues to steam full speed ahead into the ice flows.

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