JIS News

Baseline revenue projection for 2009/10 has been revised downwards to $315 billion, with tax revenue contributing 88.7 per cent of that amount, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, told Parliament this week.
Opening the debate on the revised national budget, Mr. Shaw pointed to several key sectors which, he said, the global economic meltdown continues to adversely affect.
“For the period April to June 2009, gross earnings from tourism are estimated to have declined by 10. 4 per cent when compared to the January to March period. Provisional remittance inflow figures for April to August indicate a decline of 14. 3 per cent, compared with the corresponding period for financial year 2008/09,” he cited.
The Finance Minister also pointed to the fall off in the bauxite industry, noting that this had caused a major decline in revenue to the Government in respect of the levy, which went down to $153 million this year, a significant drop when compared to $4.4 billion collected last year.
Declines in Pay as You Earn (PAYE) income tax, General Consumption Tax (GCT) and Special Consumption Tax (SCT), have also severely affected Government’s revenues. In light of this, he said, there is need for additional revenue and equity in sharing the tax burden, which includes drawing more persons into the tax net.
“There is need to garner more funds for infrastructure development, and the rebuilding and maintenance of the social fabric of the country. There is the long overdue need to reduce dependence on borrowing to finance our obligations,” Mr. Shaw noted.
He said that the Government remains committed to undertaking deep and far-reaching reform of the tax system, in order to continue addressing issues of equity, efficiency, effectiveness and revenue adequacy.
“As such, the Government has reviewed, and will continue to review, options that will help to satisfy these objectives for the remainder of the financial year, and indeed for the medium to long term,” Mr. Shaw stated.

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