The Jamaica Securities Dealers Association (JSDA) says the Government owes financial companies some J$16 billion in withholding tax, racked up over a decade.
"Withholding tax due or overdue from the Government must be repaid now," said JSDA President Julian Mair.
"Commitments to address this decade-long obligation have been made on many occasions but honoured on none," said Mair at the JSDA's annual luncheon last Tuesday.
He later told Sunday Business that more than J$9 billion of the debt is owed to securities dealers, while the rest is due to the banks and other institutions.
The sums owed date back to the policy implemented more than 10 years ago, under which tax is withheld at source on all Government of Jamaica assets issued locally.
"The inefficiency of this unproductive (zero interest rate) asset places a burden not only on us, but on the economy as a whole. It also does not form a part of our regulatory capital and therefore distorts industry capitalisation and strength," Mair said. The securities industry has 44 licencees who collectively manage J$912 billion. There are 24 core dealers, who manage J$680 billion of that amount, the JSDA president said.