Phillips says IMF pronouncement sends ominous warning for the poor
Opposition spokesman on finance, Dr Peter Phillips, is predicting rougher days ahead for Jamaica’s poorest as the Government continues its move toward more indirect taxes.
Speaking at a party meeting on Sunday night Phillips said the ominous sign was contained in the latest statement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on the country’s economic reform programme.
In its press release, the IMF said strengthening the social safety net would be essential to shield the poor and vulnerable from any adverse effects due to the shift from direct to indirect taxation.
Phillips has taken it to mean there will be more taxes to implement the second tranche of the government’s promise to move the personal income tax threshold to $1.5 million next April.
"It is unacceptable that the poorest of the country should bear the greatest effects of the taxation package which is being promised by the Jamaica Labour Party Government," he said.
On Friday, Finance Minister, Audley Shaw said the Government's $16 billion funding of the second phase of the raising of the personal income tax threshold will not be done through an automatic tax measure.
However, he said if it has to come, it will come, leading to speculation that there will be new taxes next year.