Wed | Sep 28, 2016

Misconceived gas tax

Published:Friday | January 1, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

When the first gas tax was implemented in 2009, the tax was $8.75 per litre on petrol. Motorists who bought $1,000 worth of fuel daily or 13 litres of such paid $3,250 more monthly or $42,315 yearly.

Analysts are now saying that when the second gas tax is implemented it will cost, at least, $10 more per litre for petrol. If that calculation is correct, motorists who buy $1,000 worth of fuel daily or 13 litres will have to pay $4,000 more monthly or $48,000 yearly.

When the $8.75 plus $10 is combined, this represents $7,526 monthly or $90,315 yearly! Some analysts are saying that the second tax could be as much as $15 per litre. Is this the reason why the finance minister, Audley Shaw didn't want to say what the actual cost would be when the question was put to him?

Wickedness

For whatever the reason, paying a minimum of $7,526 monthly or $90,000 yearly for use of $1,000 worth of petrol daily is wickedness on the poor working class people who have to commute daily in their motor vehicles to work! And the salary of some of those workers will be frozen for two years. No wonder The Economist magazine is predicting social unrest in Jamaica during 2010!

The tax on petrol is misconceived and will cause serious social problems. When added to transportation, goods and services, this will have a ripple effect. Remember that the Government has also increased GCT by one per cent. It is clear that the poor and middle class Jamaicans have been asked to bear too much of the new tax measures.

I am appealing to the Government to remove this new tax on fuel immediately, and find a way to tax the rich for the $9 billion needed to close the gap. The argument that this is a rich man's government will be true, if Bruce Golding fails to balance the burden between rich and poor.

I am, etc.,

NORMAN CLARKE

Kingston 6, St Andrew