Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley has announced a suite of new relief measures which she said were formulated to help Barbadians navigate “a world characterised by a level of uncertainty like nothing experienced in recent decades.”
Mottley told Barbadians during a national press conference recently, “you know as well as I do that things are not easy, but similarly we all know we are an island surrounded by water and we all know therefore that in the ocean when the ocean and the sea get rough it’s not for fancy strokes….when the water is rough you have to survive.”
Key measures to be implemented on August 1st include:
– price reductions of 10% to 25% on 45 items on supermarket shelves, including meat, dairy products, crackers, rice, fruits, and toiletries
– the continuation of school feeding programs into the summer holidays, to alleviate parents of the added cost of feeding their children nutritional lunches throughout that time
– and a 10% reduction in VAT, from 17.5% to 7.5% on electricity for the first 250 kilowatt hours used in every household.
The measures will remain in place for an initial period of 6 months and target various sectors with the intention of lowering the overall cost of living in the country.
Mottley, who spoke on the heels of a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, sympathised with the public, saying, “I wish I could do more on gasoline and diesel, but we cannot at this stage.”
She explained that this in part was due to the cost of facilitating such relief programs.
“The cost to us on the VAT on electricity going to 7.5 % will be $10.5 million, the cost of the summer feeding program will be $2 million and the cost of the reduction of vat and duties is likely to be in the vicinity of $4.5 to 5 million”, she added.
The measures will be formally laid in Parliament tomorrow Tuesday, July 19th.