Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, has informed that the system for granting waivers will be revamped.
The Minister made the disclosure as he opened the 2012/13 budget debate on Thursday (May 24) in the House of Representatives.
Dr. Phillips said that starting this financial year, all blanket waivers will be cancelled, while waivers to public entities liable for payment of General Consumption Tax (GCT) will be abolished, and no new waivers will be granted relating to the importation of horses. The government is estimated to earn some $1.88 billion in curtailing discretionary waivers.
He also stated that the decision taken in 2011 to remove the Modernisation of Industry Programme from the waiver system will be formalised
(Related Story: Tax Measures to Bring in $23.4 Billion)
The Finance Minister stated that there are a number of administrative procedures, which will be put in place to streamline the waiver approval process, enhance transparency and accountability, and remove from the office of the Minister and the bureaucrats the day-to-day administration of the system.
Also, a reform and coordinating unit will be established for incentives and concessions with the specific responsibility of rationalising the assessment, approval and monitoring processes.
It is also being proposed that all existing incentive legislation be replaced with an omnibus incentives law. “Criteria will be set out in this bill for the operations of the incentives system,” Dr. Phillips said.
A waiver committee will also be established with representation drawn from the Tax Policy Division, the Tax Administration of Jamaica and a representative of civil society. The committee will have the responsibility to consider and approve waivers based on the criteria established under the omnibus legislation.
“Applicants will have the right to appeal to the Minister and effective immediately, all waivers will be gazetted,” the Finance Minister said.
He added that a comprehensive study of the waiver regime will be undertaken with a view to effecting the rationalisation and reform of the regime before the end of the medium -term.
By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter