JIS News

The Government of Jamaica has signed a letter of intent with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), for the extension of the PRIDE Jamaica Programme, which is expected to bring about continued improvement in the tax administration system.

The Promote, Renew, Invigorate, Develop, and Energize (PRIDE) Jamaica project, which is being funded at a cost of US$1.7 million, is in its second phase, and is expected to continue until March 2015.

Under the initiative, the USAID will provide technical assistance to the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), and other stakeholders to simplify and broaden the tax base in Jamaica. This will be done by improving tax administration, streamlining processes to make it easier and simpler for taxpayers to comply, and harmonising tax policy and legislation.

Speaking at the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Kingston, on April 5, Financial Secretary at the Ministry, Devon Rowe, said the Government is pleased to continue its partnership with the USAID.

He noted that the partnership is a demonstration of the Ministry of Finance’s commitment to tax reform and also in ensuring that the gains, which have been achieved so far, are consolidated.

“It is important that some of the issues that are being covered under the programme relate to risk management and improved auditing in the TAJ. And given the limited resources that the departments have, it’s important for us to utilise those resources as strategically as possible,” he stated.

Mr. Rowe further pointed out that the fact that the programme has produced so many benefits to date, including the implementation of new mechanisms at the TAJ, augurs well for the future.

For her part, Mission Director, USAID, Denise Herbol, said the programme highlights the commitment of the Jamaican government to ensuring that the work that is being done by Pride Jamaica to support efforts at the TAJ and Customs can continue.

“I am very gratified that there is a commitment to continuing this programme, because I believe in and I know (the Ministry of Finance) believes in it,” she stated.

The project, which started in 2010, also aims to provide support to the Government in its efforts to enhance the business environment by improving regulatory efficiency and increasing domestic revenue mobilisation through tax and customs reform.

Expected results include: the identification of tens of millions of dollars in additional domestic revenue per annum; improved tax and customs compliance; increased number of audit cases closed; strengthened institutional capacity at TAJ and the Jamaica Customs Department; leveraging of additional resources from donors for tax administration reform; and improved transparency in customs, trade, and revenue collection.

Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Baker