Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Straddled with a national debt that threatens the very survival of the country, Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips says he is anxious to stamp out the culture of tax evasion that plagues Jamaica.
Signalling his intention to ensure tax reform takes shape, Phillips on Sunday warned dodgers that the net was closing in on them, a day before a list of accused tax delinquents was published in The Gleaner.
"We have to engage in tax reform that ensures greater equity, so that those who are embedded, as many are, in a culture of tax evasion will no longer be able to evade taxes," Phillips told People's National Party supporters at a West Central St James constituency conference at the Montego Bay High School Sunday evening.
Dodgers will have to pay
In a presentation on the state of the economy, he warned that those who earn high incomes and continue to avoid the tax net will have to pay.
"We are going to close down that zone and ensure that those who have much pay something in order to keep the services of the country moving," Phillips stated, while lauding the island's taxi drivers who, through their associations, have agreed to start contributing to the country's coffers.
"That is why we are determined that people who are earning 10 to 15 times what the taxi drivers are earning pay their fair share, too," he stated.