This blog post highlights the areas that anyone with a business, regardless of whether it’s startup, side hustle or established company should pay attention to as a result of the budget presented on August 16, 2016 by the Minister of Finance, Christopher Snickler.
These initiatives are aimed at providing business owners with opportunities for expansion, increase sales as well as reduced fines related to tax.
- Small business funding
$50 million is to be made available through grants and loans for micro, small and medium sized businesses. This funding will be accessed and managed through Fund Access with consultation provided by the Small Business Association.
- Tax amnesty
Businesses with outstanding VAT, income and land tax will have their penalties, interest and other charges due up to September 14, 2016 waived once the outstanding taxes and VAT are paid by February 15, 2017.
- International Standard Organisation (ISO) grant
Businesses seeking to become ISO certified will have access to a reimbursable grant of up to $50,000 to assist with the process.
- Yachting sector
Potential business opportunities within the yachting sector may be created as a result of yachts being allowed to stayed for longer periods to facilitate repairs.
- Duty free zones
The creation of the following duty free zones:
- Bridgetown Port
- Grantley Adams International Airport
Within these zones its is expected that tourists as well as Barbadians will be able to purchase goods (only using foreign currency) at more affordable prices hence providing increased retail business opportunities.
These initiatives have the potential to increase the cost of doing business making your goods and services more expensive.
- National Social Responsibility levy
This new levy of 2% will be charged on all imports (except goods used in manufacturing, agriculture and tourism) as well as goods produced within Barbados and takes effect from September 1, 2016.
- Bank tax
The tax on bank assets will increase from 0.2% per year to 0.35% from April 1, 2016 which may result in increased bank charges.
- Health insurance fund
A new national health insurance fund is to be implemented based on employer and employee contributions. This can reduce the level of spending by consumers.
Given the performance of the Barbados economy and the budgetary measures to be implemented, entrepreneurs can expect a challenging business environment in which to start, grow and manage their businesses.
– Rashida Parasram, Managing Director MPR Consulting