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Shaw surprised by level of proposed new taxes

Published:Friday | March 13, 2015 | 9:40 AM
Audley Shaw

Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Audley Shaw says he's surprised at the level of new taxes being proposed by the government.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips opened the budget debate in parliament and announced a raft of revenue measures to plug the more than $10 billion gap in the budget.

Among them, an additional $7 per litre is to be paid on the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on petrol and diesel.

This is expected to yield an additional $6.4 billion in revenue for the government.

The tax on electricity is also to be reintroduced.

This will see householders who consume over 350 Kilowatt hours of electricity monthly paying General Consumption Tax, GCT and the government's coffers receiving an additional $807 million.

Speaking with The Gleaner Power 106 News Centre last night following the announcement, Shaw said Phillips had led persons to believe that the tax package for the upcoming year would be relatively modest.

In his budget presentation yesterday, Phillips told parliamentarians that the SCT on petrol is not expected to affect the price paid by consumers at the pumps.

However, Shaw says by suggesting this, the Finance Minister is showing how little he understands of business.

The Opposition spokesman says the increase in the gas tax will negatively impact production and will have an inflationary effect in the economy.