JIS News

Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Karl Samuda, has said that the tax collection process must be more flexible to encourage greater compliance.
“It is common sense that if somebody doesn’t have all the money you can get some of it now, (and) even though it’s a bit late, you take it. So everything we do, we have to do it in a practical sense and not be so rigid that you remove all flexibility,” Mr. Samuda said as he addressed the ‘Doing Business 2010′ forum held recently at the Hilton Kingston Hotel.
He was speaking against the background of concerns raised by some participants that more needed to be done to encourage compliant tax payers to continue to conform, and for penalties to be less stringent for those who were compliant, but may err or run into difficulty on occasion.
Mr. Samuda agreed that many companies would like to become compliant, but found the process to be too expensive, but noted that the Government has been quite accommodating in this regard, with measures such as the tax amnesty.
Meanwhile, he said that partial punishment for delinquency, which is not excessive or habitual, would be difficult to regulate. “There is no formula by which you could implement something like that. It would be a subjective assessment that would perhaps be undertaken by the Minister or the department in question,” he said.
President of the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA), Omar Azan, who was a part of the discussion panel, commended the Government on the removal of the two per cent custom user fee (CUF) on raw material, which allows manufacturers to have more cash flow, rather than borrowing money before their goods are produced.
“I want to commend the Government on that facility that has enabled us to stay afloat,” he said, noting that interest rates, “which affect not only manufacturers, but every Jamaican, is slowly starting to come down – we commend the Government’s push, because it affects everybody living in this country.”
The forum was held to discuss the findings of the recent ‘Doing Business 2010: Reforming through Difficult Times’ report, jointly published by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which ranked Jamaica 75 out of 183 countries in terms of ease in doing business. The annual publication provides an objective basis on which economies can understand and improve the regulatory environment for business.
Indicators include: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; employing workers; registering property; getting credit; protecting investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and closing business.
The survey, in a broad sense, looks at the regulatory cost of business in the economies surveyed and can be used to analyse specific regulations that enhance or constrain investment, productivity, and growth. Jamaica is 10th in the top 10 countries of Latin American and Caribbean region for ease of doing business.

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