KINGSTON — A Fiscal Systems Modernisation project, aimed at increased tax compliance, reduced costs and more efficiency in the public sector, is to be instituted this financial year.
Some $550 million has been allotted in the 2011/12 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representations, to implement the project.
It involves reforming the Jamaica Tax Administration into a modern semi-autonomous revenue authority, with re-engineered business processes and re-designed organisational structures to strengthen tax compliance and improve customer service. It will also transform the Jamaica Customs Department into an executive agency.
Better management of public resources, by bringing the responsibility for treasury management under one agency thus eliminating duplication and inefficiency in the system, and establishment of a Treasury Single Account, supported by an Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), to improve cash management, are also included.
The strengthening of the institutional capacity of the Debt Management Unit’s operations, to support the development of a strong domestic market and minimise debt service costs, as well as to improve the effectiveness of public financial management of self financing public bodies through the modernisation of the Public Enterprise Division, are also being established.
For 2011/ 2012, in relation to tax administration, it is intended that the appeals functions will be separated from the Tax Administration Services Department. This is in addition to the establishment of a new integrated tax system, semi-autonomous and integrated domestic tax administration, management legal services division, tax operations division and the piloting of a new revenue services centre.
Payment options are also to be expanded and e-services promoted during the period. In addition, the Donald Sangster Building, St. Ann’s Bay collectorate, Stamp Office and head office on King Street are to be refurbished.
In terms of plans to modernise the Customs Department for the fiscal year, operating level agreements are to to established, with service providers and a proper Information and Communications Technology project management framework created. The electronic manifest is also to be expanded, and the system fully released to all Customs locations in Jamaica.
Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding is to be implemented between Jamaica Customs and the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), on the sharing of advanced passenger information. During the period, post clearance audit tools, valuation database tools, intelligence and risk management tools are also to be acquired and implemented.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It starts in April and ends in March, 2014.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter