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Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Audley Shaw, has emphasised that it is time for Jamaica to do its own “stock taking,” so as to build a foundation to become a productive society.
“The truth is, Jamaica has been sitting on its own crisis of low productivity and inadequate levels of investments over the years,” Mr. Shaw said.
He added that Jamaica has to build its capacity “in order to get out the cycle of one per cent, one and a half per cent and two per cent growth rates.”
The Minister was speaking at the Jamaica Stock Exchange and Financial Services Commission (FSC), National Investor Education Week luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel on October 3.
“For the past 10 to 15 years, Jamaica’s economy has grown by less than one per cent. We have our problems here and we have to deal with them (but) I know the opportunities are here,” the Minister said.
“The basis, the foundation, the capacity exist in this country for us to get out of this cycle of persistent under performance in our economy and that is why the Government is taking steps seeking to deal with these fundamental areas of underperformance,” Mr. Shaw pointed out.
He said the Government is currently identifying those areas that cause “systemic problems that militate against the capacity for competitiveness and for growth in the economy.”
“We have identified the fiscal problems in terms of the debt and we have identified the need for fundamental reforms in our taxation and our approach to the administration of taxes. We have identified the energy policy as something that requires serious and proper calibration and finally we have identified the need for aggressive investment promotion,” Mr. Shaw informed.
The Minister said the Government is looking forward to a form of tax administration that could, over time, seek to widen the tax net and to get people to be participants in paying taxes.
“I am inviting the people of Jamaica to let us get into a partnership. Please pay your taxes and we will ensure that your tax dollars are spent in a transparent and fiscally responsible way, so that you will feel happy about paying your taxes,” Mr. Shaw said.