JIS News

Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, said that in addition to enhancing revenue, the Government’s decision to revise the tax regime for alcoholic beverages aims to address the possible social consequences from the increased consumption of hard liquor, especially among young people.
Speaking at the Management Institute for National Development’s (MIND) 11th graduation ceremony at the institution’s Old Hope Road campus on Saturday (December 11), Mr. Shaw pointed to what he described as a move away from the consumption of “softer-type” alcoholic beverages, such as beer, to harder versions like tonic wines, over the past few years.
The alcoholic content of these harder beverages, he pointed out, is between four and five times higher than a bottle of beer.
“There are possible social consequences that are facing us down the road where so many of our young people are taking up these drinks that are being marketed as being ‘sexy’, for want of a better word. But, we have potential social consequences down the line, in terms of health care and appropriate behaviour.
“So our decision to tax alcohol on the basis of the alcoholic content is not just a revenue (enhancing) measure. But, more importantly, it is a measure that has an important social component, and that is why the government has made that significant policy decision,” Mr. Shaw said.
In an address to Parliament on November 30, Minister Shaw announced an increase of $960 per litre of pure alcohol in the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on beverages such as vodka, beers, stouts, wine, tonic wines, liqueurs, whisky, gin, brandy, and over proof rum (except white over proof).
He explained that a special regime would be put in place to maintain the existing SCT rate of US$0.04 per litre for wines, cordials and liqueurs imported directly, or taken out of bond by hotels and resorts registered with the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which are processed by that body using procedures set by the Commissioner of Customs.
He said that white over proof rum will attract a specific SCT rate of $450 per litre of pure alcohol, which is the equivalent of the current 30 per cent ad valorem SCT.

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