Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Businesses ask for removal of CET and lowering of GCT on digital devices

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2020 | 1:30 PM

Several private sector groups are calling for the removal of duties and taxes on mobile and digital equipment, mobile phones, software, tablets, computers and related accessories, for a period of at least 24 months.Businesses ask for removal of CET and lowering of GCT on digital devices.

The Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Jamaica Manufacturers & Exporters' Association, the Business Process Outsourcing Industry of Jamaica, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, the Council of Voluntary and Social Services, and the MSME Alliance say this call is an urgent response to the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic locally. 

The private sector groups expressed that Jamaica needs to become the leader in digital transformation in the Latin American and Caribbean region, which can only occur if all stakeholders have access to the digital tools.

"The global pandemic has made Internet connectivity as critical to modern life as electricity and water. Without connectivity, in this time of COVID, schools across the island are being forced to reopen digitally without the means for their students to learn in that format. Digital devices have now become indispensable, and we need to address with urgency the inequality in connectivity. Those who can afford it will already have purchased the equipment they need for the new school year, if not long before, leaving the rest behind," a release from the JCC read.

The JCC noted that the Government of Trinidad recently announced this measure in their budget two weeks ago, "as a bold tangible step to achieve their digital agenda and diversify their economy and specifically to assist with the devices needed for remote schooling".

"The tax relief outlined will provide concrete help to numerous small entrepreneurs who, unlike most larger companies, may not have sufficient funds to buy the equipment they need to adapt to our new digital reality," the release stated.

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