Minister of Finance, Planning and the Public Service, Hon. Dr. Peter Phillips, intends to table the White Paper on tax reform during his 2012/13 budget presentation.
A white paper may be described as an authoritative report, which signifies a clear intention on the part of a government to pass new law. In jurisdictions like Jamaica, a white paper is considered to be a policy document, approved by Cabinet, tabled in the House, and made available to the general public.
The provision of policy information through the use of White and Green Papers can help to create an awareness of policy issues among parliamentarians and the public and to encourage an exchange of information and analysis.
White Papers are used as a means of presenting government policy preferences prior to the introduction of legislation. By contrast, Green Papers, which are issued much more frequently, are more open-ended. Also known as consultation documents, green papers may merely propose a strategy to be implemented in the details of other legislation or they may set out proposals on which the government wishes to obtain public views and opinion.
With respect to tax reform in Jamaica, a green paper was tabled in the Parliament last May and over the ensuing months, was subject to a process of consultations, discussions and presentations from Government, Opposition, interest groups and civil society through a Special Joint Select Committee of Parliament.
With the conclusion of that process, the Parliamentary Committee is now considering the recommendations in order to make a full report.
During his presentation at a meeting of the Jamaica Exporters’ Association (JEA), on March 22, the Finance Minister advised that all the various recommendations provided by non-government groups would have to be reconciled against the tax reform Green Paper and will be incorporated into a final coherent document.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter