Minister with responsibility for Information, Sandrea Falconer says though the 2012/2013 budget is not what the Government ideally wanted to impose on Jamaicans; the Government recognizes that merely imposing tax is not the solution and there are structural impediments facing the economy which will be tackled through several efforts and initiatives.
“We are making every effort to create a more friendly business environment (efforts in fighting crime, dealing with bureaucracy); bring more foreign direct investments to Jamaica and develop our infrastructure; use the legislative agenda to create improvements in the lives of our people; and to importantly address the stranglehold that the cost of energy has on the economy and people of Jamaica,” Minister Falconer said to members of the Senate on June 15 while highlighting the successes and challenges of successive Governments throughout Jamaica’s 50 years as an independent nation.
“We have in this budget sought to alleviate the pressures on the most vulnerable, by way of programmes such as: JEEP and increasing the PATH allocation; increasing the personal income tax threshold; reducing the rate of GCT, and maintaining the GCT exempt status on certain basic food items. We have also sought to protect the local economy by maintaining the GCT exempt status on agricultural equipment; seeking to raise taxes from outside of the local economy (example tax on in bound traffic), and special consumption tax on imported meats” Minister Falconer explained.
She added that as the Government tries to minimize the impact of taxes, it has recognized the need to be responsible and honest with the Jamaican people, and recognizing the personal responsibility of Jamaicans in the 50th year of independence.
“We realize that as leaders that we have a responsibility to secure Jamaica's future and restore the credibility lost over the recent years. In our 50th year of independence we cannot continue to depend on foreign loans, grants and other forms of aid. As a proud and independent people we must chart our own path, and as the prime minister said, take responsibility for ourselves. This is the principle behind our philosophy in the budget process and we are confident that if we all work together that we can finally achieve the vision that our forefathers, and national heroes, had for us” Senator Falconer said.
Minister Falconer noted that Jamaica has made strides in many areas over the last 50 years and urged Jamaicans to be masters of their destiny and fate.