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KINGSTON — Cabinet has approved an amendment to the General Consumption Tax (GCT) Act, to provide for the re-introduction of a Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on energy drinks.

Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, told Wednesday's (September 14) Post- Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, that the new definition of energy drinks will be based on a description provided by the Ministry of Health.

He said it will make reference to the list of herbs, amino acids and other ingredients, either alone or with caffeine, contained in these products. The amendment will also empower the Minister of Finance to expand the list of products by Order, where necessary.

Mr. Vaz recalled that energy drinks were included in the last round of items slated for GCT increases. However, the increases were withdrawn pending a comprehensive definition of an energy drink, which has now been done.

"We had to make sure and get proper legal advice, in terms of how to word it, so that it would incorporate all of the energy drinks and not just some," he stated.

Mr. Vaz also said  organisations involved in the distribution of these drinks had been included in the discussions.

Minister of Finance, Hon. Audley Shaw, last year announced that the SCT on energy drinks, which became effective on December 22, to compensate for a revenue shortfall resulting from a roll back of the tax on hard liquor.

By Alphea Saunders, JIS Reporter & Editor

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