Culture change to push tax reform
Nagra Plunkett, Assignment Coordinator
In a bid to embrace the recommendations for tax reform put forward by the Private Sector Working Group (PSWG), a call has been issued for a shift in Jamaica's political and business culture to maximise development and maintain economic stability.
"What I come away with is that this document, although it doesn't claim to be, is really calling for cultural change. We just have to change our ways of doing things which have manifestly not worked and we can continue but we shouldn't," suggested Michael Nicholson, finance lecturer at the University of Technology's School of Business Administration.
"It is not the first time that we are hearing them, much of it has already been said, sometimes many times, we just have not done anything about it and so we need this change in culture."
Nicholson was speaking at a panel discussion to examine tax reform at the Montego Bay Civic Centre on Thursday evening. The panellists were developer Mark Kerr-Jarrett, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association President Evelyn Smith, businessman and hotelier Godfrey Dyer, and Venice Earskine-Kerr, audit manager at the Montego Bay Revenue Service Centre.
Giving up privileges
Nicholson explained that while the raft of recommendations may be viewed as stringent, it was noteworthy that the PSWG was willing to give up some of the privileges it now enjoys.
According to the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica's website, the PSWG is a broad grouping of private-sector representatives who met as a means of presenting a unified approach to the way forward for the nation's tax system.
"The world is not waiting for us; we are not short of ability to understand what needs to be done and to design plans and programmes to do what needs to be done," added Nicholson, who was the evening's moderator.