Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (STEM), Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said the government intends to keep its promise to remove the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on electricity.
The move, he said, will be undertaken within the framework of a review of taxation in the country.
Speaking at a recent press briefing at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica’s (PCJ) auditorium in Kingston, Mr. Paulwell informed that Cabinet has discussed the issue, and is also looking at eliminating the GCT on computers, and reducing duties on renewable energy equipment.
He noted that the tax on renewable technologies has added up to 20 per cent to costs, in some cases. “There is no way that a country like Jamaica can penalise its people for trying to embrace these new technologies of providing better quality, cheaper electricity,” he argued.
To make up for any loss of revenue from the removal of GCT, Minister Paulwell said the government will be looking to earn more from the sale of carbon credits.
In basic carbon credit trading, countries whose carbon emissions fall below a set allowance can sell the difference, in the form of credits, to other countries that exceed their limits.
“Just like the trading for oil and gold, carbon credits are now a viable trading commodity and countries like Jamaica stand to benefit from huge earnings the more renewable resources we deploy. So that very relief of taxation will enable you to generate revenue and, in fact, it will enable you to earn the investment capital to do other projects,” Mr. Paulwell stated.
He expressed confidence that the government will be able to address any shortfall in earnings from carbon credit trading alone.
By Athaliah Reynolds, JIS Reporter