Correction & Clarification
In a story carried under the headline 'Gov't has lost our trust', Christopher Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, was inaccurately quoted as saying, "We didn't know that there were revenue measures to come in the new Budget for the new financial year."
The quote should have read, "We did know that there were revenue measures to come in the new Budget for the new financial year ..., but we did not expect it at this time."
Anastasia Cunningham, News Coordinator
As far as sector leaders are concerned, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips have "lost credibility" with the private sector and it will take them a long, long time to rebuild.
They were reacting to the unexpected tax measures announced in Parliament yesterday.
"The country has been in a major recession and we have not been able to collect the revenues that they have projected to collect out of the tax package last year. Now, all of a sudden, he is putting on more taxes and I don't think he is going to collect," said Francis Kennedy, president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.
"They are going to push the country into further recession because we have no growth, just more taxation."
He said he was even more shocked because there was no consultation, despite urgings by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Government do so with all sectors.
"I am shocked by the timing of the announcement. I was caught completely unaware of this. I feel betrayed and I believe the entire private sector feels this way, " said Christopher Zacca, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
Zacca said he was aware new taxes were coming. However, he said the timing was surprising, as, even a night before the announcement there was no word from the government about the taxes.
Zacca said despite his disappointment, he would continue to call for the society to support the programme of fiscal restraint and consolidation leading to an IMF programme.
He said sector leaders would be meeting to discuss and analyse the revenue measures.
Brian Pengelley, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, told The Gleaner: "We're taken completely by surprise. As the private sector, we feel that we were on a journey with the Government to try and make sure that things work and that things run in Jamaica and at no point were we given even an inkling that this would happen. I feel a trust deficit, no wonder there was a trust deficit with the IMF and even here in Jamaica."