BMA “deeply concerned” about sugar and salt taxes

The Barbados Manufactures’ Association (BMA) says it is “deeply concerned” about the increase in the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages which takes effect on April 1 and a “salt” tax which is scheduled to be applied later in the year.

The organisation says while it supports the fight against chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, the increases will “severely impact manufacturers that create thousands of good-paying jobs and provide economic stability for families” and make the products more expensive.

The full statement follows:

The Barbados Manufactures’ Association (BMA) is deeply concerned about the recent announcement by Parliament of a tax increase on sugar-sweetened beverages to 20%, effective April 1, 2022.

The proposed tax increase by the Government of Barbados will severely impact manufacturers that create thousands of good-paying jobs and provide economic stability for families.

The tax also hurts local manufacturers by diverting critical investments from modernisation, innovation on new products, and creating jobs. A new “salt” tax follows in October 2022, resulting in a compounded, detrimental impact on both manufacturers and consumers.

As a sector, we are committed to supporting efforts to fight the incidence of non-communicable diseases and curbing obesity in Barbados. However, we are eager for the government to fully collaborate with the BMA and the business sector to foster public-private partnerships and introduce meaningful and proven solutions to fighting NCDs and obesity.

For decades, the BMA has encouraged local manufacturers and consumers to purchase locally in Barbados as it benefits our local suppliers and overall value chain.

The proposed taxes only make local products more expensive and less accessible by directly affecting our local industry and introducing a disadvantage against competitors that offer cheaper products that are not necessarily of better quality. The proposed taxes also translate into price increases on staple products and exacerbate costs and inflation for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike.

Now is the time to truly strengthen the health and well-being of Barbadians while supporting growth and economic strength across the country. The BMA and our members believe that we can achieve both goals simultaneously with our leaders in government. (PR/SAT)

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