I think the Government needs to commit itself to facilitating greater economic security, opportunity and prosperity by eliminating bureaucracy, implementing a tax code that helps to create jobs and reduce our debt burden, and widening the middle class.
Jamaica must become more business-friendly, so the Government must move expeditiously to cut the bureaucracy that has proven a huge disincentive to starting and maintaining a business in Jamaica. The process for starting a business must be simplified, with a one-stop shop with less paperwork and a shorter turnaround time for approvals.
We must also cut the bureaucracy to eliminate waste, reduce corruption, increase efficiency and productivity, and help to restore fiscal responsibility to our Government.
We must make our tax code simpler and fairer, and cut taxes to increase spending and grow the economy and reduce our debt. Accordingly, the Government must reduce and eventually eliminate the personal income tax and widen the general consumption tax (GCT) net. By abolishing personal income tax, most of which is now obtained through the overburdened PAYE workers, there will be more discretionary income to be spent on more goods and services on which GCT is assessed.
We must also reduce the corporate income tax rate to allow companies to invest more of their profits in business modernisation and expansion and create more employment.
The Government must, however, reduce/eliminate incentives to those companies that repatriate their profits, and extend tax incentives to local small businesses to help drive employment in Jamaica. Wealth comes from sales, jobs come from increased profits from sales, and government income comes from profits from sales.
To grow the economy, we must also grow the people. Accordingly, the Government should grow our middle class by expanding educational opportunities, starting from the infant level through to the tertiary level, to afford our people the opportunity for the best education and training that will allow them to become more employable and employed and be able to live more decent lives.
We must also increase access to affordable health care for our people and ensure a cleaner environment and a safer society, so we can live and retire with dignity and respect. A safe and healthy people make for a more productive people and, by extension, a more economically advanced country.
I think a focus along these lines will help to provide a more stable economy to facilitate growth and greater prosperity.
- KEVIN K.O. SANGSTER, firstname.lastname@example.org