Friday 28 February, 2020

Buying local costs more with NSRL

Applying the National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) on the final point of sale is a “retrograde step for manufacturing”.

This was the assertion of President of the Small Business Association, Dean Straker, as he made representation at the full meeting of the Social Partnership on Friday morning. He said:

“What this NSRL is saying for local manufacturers is that if you buy local, you pay more.”

He said this is because local manufacturers are being asked to pay the 10 per cent NSRL on each factor of production, such as rent, utilities, and wages.

“So for us, I don’t know how to describe it other than to tell you that we see this as not only hurting manufacturers but more importantly, hurting all of our customers because they are the ones that have to tell themselves, ‘How do I support buying local when it’s costing me more?’”

“Invariably if you can get it at a cheaper price in Barbados, it’s going to be imported. Nearly all imports come from China or Taiwan – we know that labour is all about – it could never be the same thing," he said.

He said manufacturers would be happy to pay NSRL on the raw inputs, for example, thread, buttons, and fabrics for a garment factory.

He made the point that it is back-to-school time and the cost of locally made school uniforms has increased.

“I can tell you right now that our sales, compared to last year, from July 1 up until now is 20 per cent down and everybody that I’ve spoken to in the business are telling me more or less the same thing. It’s only obvious that if the sales are down, you can’t continue to pay your expenses.”

He therefore made a fervent plea for Government to reconsider how NSRL is implemented for manufacturers.

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