Sun | Aug 20, 2017

‘Your honeymoon is over’ -- Phillips warns gov’t

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Could Dr Peter Phillips (right) be telling Finance Minister Audley Shaw that the Government’s honeymoon is over?

Opposition spokesman on finance and planning, Dr Peter Phillips, has charged that Jamaicans are now feeling the inflationary effects of the Government's tax package which was imposed to pay for the partial increase in the income tax threshold for some taxpayers.

According to Phillips, the nearly one per cent increase in inflation in June was a significant jump in the cost of living compared to the low levels of price increases during the previous People's National Party (PNP) administration.

The former finance minister argued that while the Consumer Price Index may decrease in the future, the June increase is a direct result of the new tax package.

He charged that the price increases, including higher electricity costs, increased gas price, and higher prices for a wide range of other goods and services resulting from higher taxes imposed on petrol and heavy fuel oil used in electricity generation have already eroded the adjustment made to the income tax threshold.

The opposition spokesman cautioned that the general increase in the cost of living will have more disastrous effects if the Government does not start doing tangible things instead of merely talking.

TIME FOR MORE

"Time come now fi dem stop di chat, and the Government need fi show some motion," said Phillips as he addressed party supporters last week.

He said after approximately six months as Government, the honeymoon for the Andrew Holness-led administration is over, and it is time for more than simply announcements and talk.

The former finance minister noted that as part of the current agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a new public-sector wage agreement is to be signed by December 2016.

Additionally, negotiations for a new IMF agreement will need to start soon as the current agreement ends in March of next year.