Barbadians from all walks of life are being encouraged to back Government’s Barbados Optional Savings Scheme (BOSS) Plus bonds “no matter how small the investment”.
Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ryan Straughn put the case in the House of Assembly yesterday that Government had worked hard and successfully to resuscitate an economy wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“No matter how small, make a contribution to your country. It is open to everybody,” he said.
BOSS Plus bonds will become available from next month, cover five years and earn investors 4.5 per cent in interest. Government is aiming to raise $200 million in the current financial year.
BOSS Plus follows the BOSS initiative, which targeted only public servants and was a four-year bond seeking to raise $83 million to finance state projects.
Straughn said that as a holder of BOSS bonds he could attest to adding up his interest payments to ensure they were accurate.
“Barbadians have in their hands the chance to help drive the (economic) recovery,” he told the House during debate on the second reading of the BOSS Plus (Offer To The public) Bill.
He also took the opportunity to refute allegations of Government printing money via the Central Bank, describing them as “disingenuous”.
“It is a complete falsehood,” he stressed, adding that the role of the Central Bank had been to administer the BOSS bonds.
The Christ Church East Central Member of Parliament said there had been tremendous interest in the BOSS bonds with $21 million worth continuing to be held by public servants.
He said the interest on savings deposits was reduced some years ago from 2.25 per cent to 0.1 per cent. He argued that 4.5 per cent on the bonds represented an attractive investment and BOSS Plus bonds were not subject to taxation and interest would be paid semi-annually.
“The money is no good, sir, sitting down in the bank,” Straughn said.
The minister criticised the previous Democratic Labour Party Government for allegedly taking advantage of citizens when it raised financing from bonds but not having anything tangible to show by way of maintaining public services and implementing economic and social projects.
Straughn said the BOSS bonds programme had proven to be an enabler in driving economic activity.
In announcing the BOSS Plus initiative during a press conference on July 16, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had said: “We are looking to raise $200 million this financial year, but we would like this to be a constant feature of Barbados rebuilding itself over the next few years.” (HH)