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  • The proposed cess on imported refined sugar forms part of the administration’s undertaking to restructure the regime governing the importation of the commodity, with the proceeds earmarked to fund the sector’s transformation.
  • This was stated by Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, at a ground breaking ceremony for the repairing of 14 kilometres of cane roads from Elim to Braes River in St. Elizabeth, on July 9.
  • The Minister had emphasized that the Government would not allow imported refined sugar, meant for the manufacturing sector, to continue to be leaked to the retail trade, and undermine raw sugar production and rob the Government of much needed revenue.

The proposed cess on imported refined sugar forms part of the administration’s undertaking to restructure the regime governing the importation of  the commodity, with the proceeds earmarked to fund the sector’s transformation.

This was stated by Minister of Agriculture, Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, at a ground breaking ceremony for the repairing of 14 kilometres of cane roads from Elim to Braes River in St. Elizabeth, on July 9.

In his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on April 21, the Minister had emphasized that  the Government would not allow imported refined sugar, meant for the manufacturing sector, to continue to be leaked to the retail trade, and undermine raw sugar production and rob the Government of much needed revenue.

The Minister said then that the imposition of the cess is also intended to level the playing field within the sector, noting that all other sugar consumed in Jamaica is subject to a similar tax.

Under the current policy, manufacturers who use the imported sugar as an input are allowed to import it duty free. However, as an end product distributed by the retail trade, refined sugar attracts 128 per cent duty.

Mr. Kellier pointed out that the sugar industry is in need of the cess in order to further develop the sector in a meaningful way.

“In this context…we must now understand why there is a need for the cess on refined sugar and why it is of paramount importance and needs to be implemented without further delay,” the Minister said.

On the privatization of Government holdings in the local sugar industry, Mr. Kellier informed that the process has been successfully completed and there have been significant investments in the sector by the new owners.

“So far we have investments of some US$343 million by the new entities, and we have planted some 30,000 hectares of sugar cane,” he noted.