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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw, says consultations on the consolidation of statutory deductions, which will form part of the tax reform process, have been extended.
This has become necessary in order for stakeholders involved in the talks to reach consensus on several issues, he said.
During his presentation in the 2009/10 Budget Debate in April, the Minister had announced plans, by the administration, to pursue consolidation of statutory deductions in order to simplify the tax collection process.
Addressing the launch of the Jamaica Employers Federation’s (JEF) 2009/10 Salary Survey, at JEF’s offices in Kingston, Friday (October 30), Mr. Shaw said that, as a result of the issues arising, the parties have become a “little bit more careful” in the way they approach the matter.
Pointing out that the Government has met with the Opposition several times on the issue, Mr. Shaw cited the status of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) within the context of the consolidation of deductions, as one of the challenges.
“We are challenged by the issue that we have to keep our National Insurance Scheme viable and if we don’t do something about it now, the Fund could become compromised in another 10 years,” he stated
To this end, the Finance Minister contended that careful consideration has to be given to how to treat with NIS contributions, and the cap for employers and employees.
“So, we have to look at the question of the cap, and whether the cap should be completely removed, or it should be removed from the present threshold and, perhaps, put to a higher threshold. These are some of the issues that we have felt the need to have adequate consultations on, before we finally come down to a decision on that,” Mr. Shaw stated.

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