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Sugar producers planning to lobby new government to implement sugar cess

Published:Thursday | March 3, 2016 | 2:16 PM
General Manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited Karl James.

General Manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited Karl James says local sugar producers will continue to lobby the new government to impose the controversial cess on imported sugar as soon as the new agriculture minister is announced.

James says the imposition of the cess will protect local producers of sugar.

He has dismissed claims made by president of Jamaica Manufacturers' Association Metry Seaga that talks of the sugar cess are dead.

 

General manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited Karl James

Yesterday Seaga said his organisation had scheduled a meeting with Andrew Holness, but had no plans to raise the issue of the cess.

Seaga said the cess talks have died a natural death and his organisation still has no intentions of paying the tax on imported sugar.

However, James says Seaga's statements are misleading and are a ploy to make people forget about the much needed cess on imported sugar.

 

General manager of Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited Karl James

The sugar cess became a controversial topic last year, when former Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier announced plans to impose a tax of US$35.

This would make refined imported sugar more expensive, forcing producers to purchase locally made brown sugar.

However, the issue was met with staunch resistance from private sector groups who say the cess on imported sugar would make their businesses less competitive.