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Phillips says tax reversal unlikely

Published:Thursday | February 14, 2013 | 5:13 PM

Debbie-Ann Wright, News Editor - Radio

Two days after announcing an additional $15.9 billion in taxes, Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips says the government is open to suggestions and discussions with various groups.

But he has expressed doubt there would be any reversal of the decisions made.

He has sought to explain that the measures are critical to Jamaica’s survival.

The tax package is part of the government’s thrust to meet preconditions for an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Government is hoping that the taxes together with the recently launched National Debt Exchange and an $11 billion-a-year draw down from the National Housing Trust (NHT) will help to achieve the country’s primary surplus target.

At a press conference this afternoon, Phillips said tough decisions had to be taken despite criticisms from the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party and the private sector.

In relation to the effect of the use of the NHT funds, Phillips said the construction of houses by the Trust and the issuing of mortgages will not be affected.

Phillips also sought to assure pensioners concerned about the effect of the debt exchange on their funds.

He said all accumulated interest would be paid and a special one year bond is also being offered.


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