Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Fact Check

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2016 | 2:00 AM
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (centre) prays with Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams (left) and Ashley-Ann Foster during Sunday night's People's National Party rally at Catherine Hall in St James.

How many

workers would be exempt?

1 Audley Shaw notes that the JLP is committed to raising the PAYE tax threshold for earners of $1.5m or less from the current level of about $593,000 to $1.5m. Raising the threshold would mean everyone who earns $1.5m or less will no longer pay PAYE. Shaw says this would mean that nearly 120,000 Jamaican workers would no longer pay personal income tax, or PAYE.

Response:

There are a few ambiguities in Audley's proposal. Is he referring to both civil servants and public servants who make up the public sector (excluding executive agencies, local government, etc)? If so, there are approximately 12,000 civil servants and roughly 116,000 public servants. This would mean that approximately 128,000 public-sector workers would be affected by this PAYE tax threshold increase. So the PNP's 129,000 is more accurate.

Gov't vs

private sector?

2 "Plans by Mr Holness to flood the stock market with public assets will place the Government in head-to-head competition with medium-sized businesses, thus risking jobs and business growth in this vital sector of the economy," said the PNP's Delano Franklyn.

Response:

When government assets are put up for sale/divestment on the stock exchange, it means the government is seeking liquidity/cash exchange for private ownership/part ownership in what used to be a government-owned entity. According to one Jamaican economist, this will not necessarily put the government in head-to-head competition with any aspect of the private sector. He views this move as government "putting things in the hands of the private sector or at least promoting public-private partnership so that the government will not compete directly with the private sector."

It was also noted that, with respect to risking jobs and growth in the economy, Franklyn's comment may ring true, as privatisation can result in job loss. As opposed to government entities that are not necessarily profit-oriented, privatised companies aim to make profit. Additionally, during the process of privatisation, jobs may be made redundant or a new investor may decide to bring his own management or technical staff.

$32-billion income tax

hole?

3 The JLP's income tax proposal will drill a $32-billion hole in the Budget, says Dr Peter Phillips, the minister of finance.

Response:

Guided by the 2015-2016 national Budget, this approximation seems to be on point. PAYE income tax is currently 25 per cent, which amounts to approximately $31.95 billion of government revenue.