EPOC warns against tax increase to bridge revenue gap
Debbie-Ann Wright, Editor - Radio
The Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) is warning the Government against increasing taxes to bridge the revenue gap.
Last month, Finance Minister, Dr Peter Phillips disclosed that up to the end of July, revenues were 2.1 per cent behind the budgeted target.
At a press conference today where EPOC said Jamaica is expected to pass its next International Monetary Fund (IMF) test, the committee said it was aware of the challenges to meet the tax revenue targets.
But EPOC co-chairman, Richard Byles, is warning the Government against increasing taxes to bridge the gap.
He is urging the government to intensify its collection efforts from delinquent persons or businesses.
He says keeping taxes stable is even more important given upcoming wage negotiations and the Government's commitment to a wage bill of no more than nine per cent of gross domestic product by March 2016.
In the meantime, the EPOC says Jamaica surpassed all quantitative targets for the quarter ending in September.
The committee says the cumulative primary surplus of $43.6 billion for the September quarter was $5.8 billion more than the targeted $37.8 billion.
And it says the Net International Reserves stood at US$2.2 billion at the end of September, which is US$968.3 million more than targeted.
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