Wed | Aug 23, 2017

No tax roll back, says Shaw

Published:Monday | March 13, 2017 | 3:20 PM
Dr Peter Phillips (left), opposition spokesman on finance, speaks with Audley Shaw, minister of finance and public service, before the start of the 2017-2018 Budget Debate at Gordon House in Kingston last Thursday.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw has indicated that there will be no roll back of any aspect of the new tax measures that insurance companies and major union groups have criticised as burdensome and will cause hardships on poor Jamaicans.

Last week, Shaw announced increases in taxes on gas, alcohol, tobacco products and motor vehicle licences and related fees. He also announced new tax on group health insurance as well as a lowering of the threshold for which a tax on electricity used by residential customers is charged.

Since then, the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) which represents 11 unions comprising of more than 50,000 public sector workers has been leading calls for the withdrawal of the $13.5 billion tax package.

However, Shaw told journalists this morning that he does not anticipate the fallout that the unions are predicting.

Neither does he believe Sagicor boss Richard Byles’ argument that with a 16.5 per cent general consumption tax on group health insurance, employees will be called on to share the increased cost.

 

The finance minister said Jamaicans including Byles, have a responsibility in the push to what the Andrew Holness administration calls prosperity.

 

Finance Minister Audley Shaw. He was speaking this morning at a post-budget speech press conference at his office.

A Gleaner survey last year found that only 32 per cent of adult Jamaicans had health insurance.

More than half of that group or 53 per cent said their coverage was by way of workplace schemes