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(Barbados Today) The general cost of living in Barbados is set to rise, following a whopping increase in the contentious National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL), introduction of a new sales tax on foreign currency transactions and a hike in the excise taxes charged on gasoline and diesel consumption.

With the expectation of raking in $542 million from taxes and expenditure cuts, overcoming a high deficit of $537.6 million, and achieving a small surplus of $4.4 million, these were some of the measures announced Tuesday by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler in the highly anticipated 2017 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals.

The measures come on the heels of appeals by the private sector and Leader of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party Mia Mottley for no new taxes.

However, in his three-hour presentation, Sinckler also announced some expenditure measures, including plans for much needed debt re-profiling, as well as divestment of the Hilton Barbados Resort, for which Government is expecting to receive no less than $100 million in net proceeds, taking into account debt liabilities attached to that property.

Additionally, the Minister of Finance said a mid-year review was done with the aim of reducing Government spending by at least $50 million across ministries from the 2016/2017 Estimates and Expenditure, which was successful.

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