JIS News

KINGSTON — Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, will table in the House of Representatives today, a Green Paper on tax reform proposals as a means of informing and engaging discussion among the public on the issue.

This was disclosed by Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, yesterday, during his contribution to the 2011/12 Budget Debate in the Lower House.

Mr. Golding said the approach to tax reform is to reduce taxes as a means of stimulating investment and economic activity. “A key element is to encourage more export-oriented businesses because the domestic market is too small to enable us to grow at the pace and to the extent that we need,” he said.

He noted further that if Jamaica is to reduce its taxes, the plethora of waivers and incentives will have to be drastically reduced. “The mere fact that so many waivers and incentives have to be granted is clear evidence that something is structurally wrong with our tax system. We cannot delay a major tax overhaul until there is unanimous agreement on every aspect,” Mr. Golding said.

He noted that the measures announced by Mr. Shaw in his Budget presentation relating to estate and motor vehicle duties, initiatives to facilitate loan refinancing and the freeing up of the trade in securities, are just part of the process that is being rolled out at this time.

Other elements of the tax reform will be readied for implementation during this financial year.

“Some will require more time to allow for appropriate adjustments and will be implemented over the next two to three years. It represents a bold effort to create a simpler, healthier and friendlier tax environment to support the thrust toward investment and growth,” Mr. Golding stated.