Barbados Chamber Of Commerce & Industry Comments on Barbadian Economy
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has expressed concern with the costs associated with implementing workplace improvements, the delay in obtaining VAT/corporation tax returns and the decline in seasonal employment opportunities.
According to Mr. Vaswani, members have reported a decline in the number of staff hired over this holiday season.
“This reduction is estimated at around 10%, with one member having to resort to hiring less people for a shorter period of time, that is, one week before Christmas and the week afterwards. In spite of these economic challenges, members in the retail/distribution sector had not resorted to lay-offs, but rather had curtailed all over-time,” Mr. Vaswani noted.
“Overall, the business community is anxiously monitoring their expenses, particularly labour costs. Try as they might, one of our members will be forced to lay-off people in the New Year. Very little growth is expected in the construction sector while food sales are stable. People will eat, even if it means trading down to cheaper brands or more basic foods,” he added.
Although the economic outlook for 2013 didn’t look very encouraging, the president was of the belief that Government should arrange for the introduction of new employment related legislation on a phased basis to avoid the necessity businesses having to consider adjusting employment levels to meet the added costs arising from the new legislation being introduced.
Furthermore, as the outlook in our source markets is also challenged there is an urgent need to review Government’s current strategy of not stimulating the local economy. A more vibrant economy will not only secure the existing employment levels but encourage new employment and investment. In addition, there is a pressing need to release VAT refunds for companies as this has made the operating environment for business more acute. Sustained or higher employment levels has salutary macro-economic benefits for the economy.