Some ‘prospered in pandemic’

Independent Senator Andrew Mallalieu has described the pandemic levy imposed on certain businesses in the Estimates and Budgetary Proposals 2022 as unfair in its application.

Making his first appearance since being appointed to the Senate, Mallalieu said while he supported the idea of the levy, it should have been applied to all business, and there were many businesses created because of the pandemic which had “prospered”.

“My concern as I speak to the Appropriation Bill is the retroactive nature of the tax that has been imposed upon certain industries . . . I think that particular tax is unfair. It does not recognise that there are businesses in other sectors not addressed which may have been more resilient or may in fact have benefited,” Mallalieu told the Senate as debate on the Appropriation Bill 2022 entered its final day.

The businessman  gave as an example of those industries that may have benefited, “the industry of PCR testing” for COVID-19, which he said at one point was testing “3 000” people per day and through which many private businesses were formed.

He said businesses needed to operate on the basis of certainty and from a business point of view “taxation needs to be certain”.

“Uncertainty for businesses is an extremely bad environment. Businesses do not make investments in an uncertain environment. We must do all we can to provide businesses with certainty,” Mallalieu said.

On the first formal occasion to respond to his selection as a senator, Mallalieu also promised to serve with “humility.”

“It is not lost on me that I am the grandson of a priest – humble beginnings – and I hope that when you see me and you listen to me, that is all you will see: a fellow Barbadian and nothing more.

“I have been astonished, frankly, in the last few weeks that that is not the first thing that people generally comment to me when they look at me and I think Barbados needs to move past that.” (GC)

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