KINGSTON — Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, has announced that three additional tax revenue service centres are to be established shortly.
These new facilities, he said, are to be established in Kingston, St. Ann and Mandeville, Manchester. While not indicating when the centres will be opened, the Minister said they will form part of the Government’s efforts to improve the manner in which it conducts and facilitates business locally.
Speaking at the launch of KIA Motors 2011/12 line of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) at their Chelsea Avenue showroom, in Kingston, last week, Mr. Shaw also noted that the implementation of same day processing of titles for motor vehicles, “will come in the future."
He pointed out that the global motor vehicle market is just emerging from the most serious decline ever experienced, a scenario which resulted in the local market contracting by 63 per cent over the past three years. This development, he said, formed part of the “motivation” prompting the administration’s decision to revise the policies governing the industry, in order to “create a kind of stimulus for the industry."
During his 2011/12 Budget Debate presentation in the House of Representatives in April, Mr. Shaw had announced that effective May 2, the Common External Tariff (CET) applicable to motor cars, including special utility vehicles (SUVs), would be reduced from 40 per cent to 20 per cent, and that the CET on motorbikes with engine sizes below 300cc and 600cc would be reduced to 10 and 20 per cent, respectively.
Additionally, the Minister said the CET on all terrain vehicles would be reduced to 20 per cent, and the Cost Insurance and Freight (CIF) value, to which the current 20 per cent duty concession is applicable, would be increased from US$25,000 to US$35,000, and that the general consumption tax (GCT) on second sale vehicles would be increased.
“As we all know, the main problem in the car business is the price of cars. Prices have escalated by 30 per cent because of a 25 per cent appreciation of the Japanese Yen, and steel and energy have increased. The mission that I have is to bring simplification (to the system). We have too much complication in business; we make it too difficult to do business (and) there is no reason for this. We need to do more things that will stimulate more confidence in the economy (and) to stimulate greater investment in everything, including the motor vehicle industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Shaw said the administration is on the “right track” in terms of achieving growth and stimulating confidence in the economy, citing the foreign exchange rate and reserves, inflation, employment and expenditure as key areas recording improvements.
“The economy is growing, the foreign exchange rate is stable; we have both record gross and net international reserves, and we have available foreign exchange. Inflation has been tamed; in fact the last inflation read out was just 0.5 per cent for April. It means that we are on the way to achieving an inflation rate of just over six per cent in this new fiscal year,” the Minister said.
“Our deficit is under control, and public expenditure is under control. Employment is beginning to rise, as evidenced by the recent report from the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), and growth, for the first time in 14 quarters, has commenced, once again, in the March quarter. We fully expect that in the June quarter, we will see growth of, at least, a similar 1.5 to two per cent,” Mr. Shaw added.
By DOUGLAS McINTOSH, JIS Reporter