Is Government really serious about Small Businesses?
After nearly 25 years running a small business on Barbados, I really wonder if the current Government, or in fact previous ones, are serious about encouraging small businesses and nurturing entrepreneurship.
Yet once again, we have been waiting for up to two years for various VAT refunds. If we are one day late submitting a return, a late filing fine and interest are payable, but clearly this is just a one way penalty.
Currently the following refunds are pending. 2010/07 period – $5,347.95, 2010/09 period – $7,675.73, 2011/07 period – $7,124.28 and 2011/09 period – $4,569.53.
So a total of $24,717.49 outstanding. Consider the strain on the business if we are paying overdraft interest on that amount.
Despite Government imposing a massive 16.6 per cent increase in the rate of VAT, it would appear that this hasn’t had any improvement of the level of efficiency. The private sector has been forced to absorb huge increases in most of our operational costs, while trying to maintain employment. Yet to the best of my knowledge, not a single civil servant has lost their job or witnessed a salary reduction.
In fact, to the contrary, it seems almost totally morally incomprehensible to see that certain public workers have taken delivery of gas guzzling, luxury vehicles during a period of severe austerity.
The current Minister responsible for small businesses is very vocal and heard almost daily on the call-in programmes with a whole range of opinions. But now is the time to get off the phone, stop talking the talk and do more of walking the walk.
The late repayment of VAT refunds is not new and has been going on for years. Trade Associations representing various sectors have made repeated appeals but seemingly on deaf years.
If the current Government really wants the economy to recover and soak up high unemployment, it is going to be led by small businesses. Now is the time to give your support and ensure our massive civil service does the job they are well paid for.