Mon | May 25, 2020

MBCCI wants Gov’t to accept JPS’s suggestions

Published:Friday | April 3, 2020 | 12:12 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Western Bureau:

THE MONTEGO Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) says it supports the Jamaica Public Service’s (JPS) appeal for a zero-rating of the general consumption tax (GCT) on electricity and the removal of the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on fuel used in the production of electricity, as a way of easing the economic burden brought on by COVID-19.

“The rapid spread of COVID-19 continues to significantly disrupt lives, communities and economic activities. It is crucial at this time that all players work together to minimise the impact on the public and limit disruptions to the Jamaican economy,” said MBCCI President Janet Silvera in a media release.

“Suspending the GCT and SCT for the next three months will reduce the energy bill, which would aid both businesses and the general public in this strenuous period,” added Silvera.

In urging the Government to accept the recommendation and act accordingly without delay, the chamber president said such an initiative would be highly beneficial.

“We hope the Government of Jamaica will see the widespread benefit of responding positively to this call, and we ask that they do so without further delay,” said Silvera.

Last weekend, the JPS made a number of suggestions to the Government which, they believe, would facilitate the lowering of the cost of electricity, and, in so doing, reduce the burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have asked for support from the Bank of Jamaica as it relates to the availability of foreign exchange necessary in procuring fuels in the production of electricity. We have asked the Government to consider the removal of general consumption tax that goes on fuel, that is part of the production cost of electricity at this time,” said the JPS’s chief financial officer, Vernon Douglas.

Silvera believes that the major injection of cash that the JPS has pledged to help assist vulnerable communities, which are likely to be severely impacted by the virus, was a commendable gesture that deserves much praise.

“The MBCCI also commended the JPS for stepping up its response to the coronavirus pandemic by pledging a total of $45 million to support the fight against the outbreak and to assist our most vulnerable community, the disabled and elderly,” said Silvera.

“We urge that in addition to this tremendous response, the JPS will also consider suspending disconnections for the period, in line with what many utility companies have done worldwide,” added the chamber boss.

Silvera said the MBCCI is imploring the public to adhere to the regulations being implemented to reduce the spread of the deadly virus, and stands ready to assist constituents in any way possible.