These commercial operators, who are already paying seven per cent online sales tax, are now being made to employ brokers for small purchases that are routinely shipped through skybox couriers.
This is a direct and purposeful attack on the struggling small business sector.
Brokerage charges would send up the operating costs of thousands of small businesses, and further jeopardise their marginal profitability in the current challenging economic times.
It would also create unnecessary red tape and lead to burdensome delays in what was previously “express” shipments.
In addition, skybox companies could be put out of business through this onerous move by the Customs and Excise Division.
There could also be increased job losses in the small business sector, thus worsening the high unemployment rate.
Small skybox imports were previously not subjected to brokerage charges, and this made the items more cost-effective for consumers and allowed for speedier delivery.
The tough new measure would embrace all imports, in spite of their commercial value.
I call on the Minister of Finance to instruct that this measure be reversed, failing which it would be considered a wilful and cruel assault by the PNM Government on the small business community. This is yet another attack on the Ease of doing business in Trinidad and Tobago.
I also urge the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce and community business organisations to state their positions on this unwarranted and exploitative measure.