Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Tax break for pharmaceutical manufacturers, farmers

Published:Wednesday | November 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica, Ainsley Jones, has welcomed the removal of the special consumption tax (SCT) on alcohol used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, pointing out that consumers would benefit from this measure.

"Any measure to reduce the cost associated with manufacturing would be a benefit to the consumer, as the cost associated with pharmaceuticals has been skyrocketing, and that is cause for concern for some persons using pharmaceuticals," he told The Gleaner.

Jones also argued that the reduction in the price of pharmaceuticals would lead to better health outcomes as persons would now be able to afford pharmaceuticals which are manufactured locally.

Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Karl Samuda yesterday announced the removal of SCT on alcohol used in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, as well as the zero rating of general consumption tax (GCT) on agricultural inputs.


Empower farmers


In a statement to Parliament yesterday, Samuda said the current list of zero-rated items for the agriculture sector was too limited, noting that the Government wants to empower farmers to utilise more modern technology in farming.

The Government will give up $4.2 billion in revenues annually with the removal of GCT on agricultural inputs and SCT on alcohol used in manufacturing of pharmaceuticals.

Samuda said the Government's decision to provide these tax breaks is in keeping with its growth strategy, adding that the administration plans to attract investment in manufacturing and the agriculture sector.

"We have taken the bold initiative to introduce the measures ... we are on a collision course with growth," Samuda added.