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The Ministry of Finance and the Public Service has ceased the granting of discretionary waivers on taxes on duties, effective December 1, in light of significant reductions in revenue inflows during the first half of the 2009/10 fiscal year.
Speaking at Wednesday’s (December 9) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Daryl Vaz, said the freeze will apply to all sector interests and stakeholders, except for approved charitable and not for profit organisations, and special humanitarian cases.
He said the Cabinet decision was also influenced by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw’s pronouncement of the need to drastically reduce the granting of discretionary waivers.
Mr. Vaz disclosed that provisional data showed that total revenue inflows to the Government’s coffers for the first seven months of the current fiscal year stood at $156.5 billion, some $17.8 billion or 10.2 per cent, below budget.
He said that all categories of revenue were performing below projection, as the decline in the economy continued, due to the global recession. He added that Government expenditures stood at $235.5 billion over the period, some $7.2 billion or three per cent less than budgeted.
“This, however, is an understatement as there is a large outstanding amount owed to various suppliers. Many of these companies are requesting that taxes and statutory deductions owed to Government (be) used to set off the amount owed by Government,” he stated.
While unable to state the total sum owed, the Minister advised that Cabinet has instructed that all such amounts for Ministries be compiled and submitted for perusal, so that it can be ascertained exactly what the sum is, and how it can be addressed to make sure that critical services are not affected.
Mr. Vaz told journalists that, consequent on the change in policy for waivers, the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service issued an advisory stating that no additional tax incentives would be granted to industries and sectors already receiving same under law. Manufacturers purchasing goods from non-CARICOM countries which are not permitted to enter Jamaica duty-free, must first receive CARICOM Suspension Certificates before importing.
The Government has committed to honouring all existing Government contractual obligations. Requests for waivers will be processed by the Taxation Policy Division of the Ministry of Finance and Public Service and a response provided within eight days. As of December 1, all approvals for waivers will be gazetted and publicised no later than 14 days following the months of approval on the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service’s web site: < href="http://www.mof.gov.jm" target="_blank">“http://www.mof.gov.jm” or in a daily edition of a newspaper.

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