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  • Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Mr. Richard Byles, has credited improved tax compliance measures for tax revenues surpassing the budget for the second month in October.
  • For October, tax collections continued to outperform the budget by $6.8 billion, recording $29.3 billion more than last year.
  • The tax categories with the best performance were Tax on Interest, $3.4 billion better than the budget; Sales Consumption Tax at $3.4 billion more, General Consumption Tax at $1.8 billion more and Company Tax at $1.7 billion over the budget.

Co-Chair of the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC), Mr. Richard Byles, has credited improved tax compliance measures for tax revenues surpassing the budget for the second month in October.

At his monthly press briefing, held at the Sagicor Life Jamaica head office, in New Kingston, today (December 10), Mr. Byles said revenues for the first seven months of the fiscal year were $3 billion, which was 1.2 per cent ahead of the Government’s Economic Reform Programme’s target.

For October, tax collections continued to outperform the budget by $6.8 billion, recording  $29.3 billion more  than last year.

“In the same way that we are critical of the tax authorities when they are not collecting the tax, I think we should congratulate them for doing so a second month in a row,” he said.

The tax categories with the best performance were Tax on Interest,  $3.4 billion better than the budget; Sales Consumption Tax at $3.4 billion more, General Consumption Tax at $1.8 billion more and Company Tax at $1.7 billion over the budget.

Mr. Byles said that companies, generally, are doing better than last year, noting that collection of Company Tax is $2.8 billion better than the previous year.

Meanwhile, he said the two quantitative performance criteria of Primary Surplus Balance and Net International Reserves (NIR) have considerably surpassed their targets in October and November. Measured against the Government’s budget, the country produced a primary surplus of $53.8 billion, which is 21 per cent ahead of the budget of $44.3 billion for the fiscal year to October.

At the end of November, the NIR stood at US$2.34 billion, ahead of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) target of US$1.5 billion for the end of December.

Mr. Byles said estimates from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) indicate that the economy grew by 1.5 per cent for the third quarter ending September 2015. This follows  growth of 0.4 per cent and 0.6 per cent recorded for the first and second quarters. Improvement was shown in the Agricultural sector of 3.3 per cent; Manufacturing , 9.7 per cent and Construction, 0.8 per cent.

“What I like about these figures is that generally, it’s growth right throughout the sectors,” he said.

Mr. Byles  expressed confidence that Jamaica will comfortably achieve the December primary surplus targets, especially given the likelihood of a reduction in the requirement from 7.5 to 7.25 per cent by the IMF Board.

“Generally I would say that the fiscal accounts look pretty solid. They look like they can meet the budget and can meet the targets with the IMF agreement. That the trade deficit is closing up and the current account deficit is closing, is also a very big positive, and that economic growth is gaining momentum, is very heartening to see and we are hoping we will see that in the December quarter too,” Mr. Byles said.

He said the figures indicate that Government’s Economic Reform Programme is “very much on track” and is having a positive effect on economic growth.