Sat | Jan 19, 2019

Shaw to open Budget Debate today: no new taxes expected

Published:Thursday | March 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM

With a less than impressive real gross domestic product (GDP) outturn for calendar year 2017 and clear indications that the projected 2.3 per cent target for the 2017-2018 financial year will not be met, Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw will today shed light on the Government's plans for the economy for the upcoming fiscal year.

In 2017, real GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.5 per cent. Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies Dr AndrÈ Haughton said that the country should not expect any additional taxes this year as the Government's revenue-collection methods have reaped success for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Revenue collections as at December 2017 were running ahead of projections by $13 billion.

In a Gleaner interview, Dr Haughton indicated that the Government should seek to lower its borrowing in order to achieve other critical targets.

"What we want to see, though, is less borrowing. So we expect them to maintain a primary surplus of seven per cent so that we can continue paying off our debt and move towards that 60 per cent debt-to-GDP ratio by fiscal year 2025-26," he said.

Shaw announced in January that the Government would not be introducing any new taxes, noting that he was comfortable with the rate of revenue collections. But the finance minister has vowed to put measures in place at Jamaica Customs to plug loopholes so that the taxes could be collected.