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LASCO boss talks tough on sugar cess

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 10:15 AM
Lascelles Chin

Head of LASCO, Lascelles Chin says he may have to shelve his company’s US$40 million expansion project if the government goes ahead with plans to impose a cess on imported refined sugar.

LASCO is one of the country’s largest food manufacturers.

Chin contends that if the tax is imposed it would be one of the greatest injustices to the manufacturing industry.

He says sugar remains one of the largest ingredients of many manufactured products, particularly in the beverage industry.

On Tuesday Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier announced that a tax would be placed on imported refined sugar, adding that it was part of government’s plans to restructure the regime governing the importation of refined sugar.

Kellier also indicated that imported refined sugar was being leaked to the local retail trade.

However, in a letter to the editor of The Gleaner newspaper, Chin charged that if sugar is taxed, Lasco will not be in a position to expand its business in Jamaica.

Chin says the company may have to consider taking its operation to Trinidad where it can produce more competitively.

He argued that it would be an insult to local manufacturers to charge a cess on imported refined sugar while the finished products from Trinidad do not attract any charges.

The Lasco boss appealed to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to intervene.