Jamaica News, January 22, 2018 (Mckoy’s News)
Kingston, Jamaica (JIS) – No New Taxes: Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says no new taxes will be included in the 2018/19 Estimates of Expenditure. He says revenue inflows have been doing “fairly well” this year, noting that the out-turn at the end of December 2017 was $13 billion ahead of projections.
“Happily, with this trajectory, it is not the Government’s plan to introduce a new tax package in the new Budget that is coming,” the Minister indicated.
He was speaking at Mayberry Investments Limited’s monthly Investor Forum at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, on January 17. Mr. Shaw said the Government will, however, focus on implementing non-tax initiatives to ensure that importers in particular “pay their fair share at the wharves”.
To this end, he said the Jamaica Customs Agency has been instructed to take the necessary steps to acquire the requisite modern state-of-the-art X-ray equipment to enable them to scan all incoming containers.
“We are going to (scan) all barrels and containers 100 percent… . Everything coming in will be scanned because all I want is a fair system where all persons pay their duties,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shaw advised that the Government plans to lobby the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to further reduce the Primary Surplus Balance. The primary surplus is the minimum set aside in the Budget for debt payments. This was a stipulation under the previous International Monetary Fund Extended Fund Facility and remains under the successor Precautionary Standby Arrangement.
“We had gotten a relaxation… from 7.5 percent, which is where it (initially) was, down to seven percent, and when the time is appropriate, we will seek to get it further down to 6.5 percent and then six percent. Of course, the more relaxation you have of the Primary Surplus is the more money you will have for capital expenditure,” the Minister explained.
Mr. Shaw also advised that Jamaica’s debt is expected to further decline to 107.1 percent of the gross domestic product by the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year on March 31.