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GCT removed from residential light bills

Published:Wednesday | June 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

SUSTAINED OBJECTIONS to the Government's announced increase in general consumption tax (GCT) on the use of electricity above the 300 kWh threshold have prompted the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration to remove the tax measure altogether from residential customers.

Simpson Miller, in her contribution to the 2012-2013 Budget Debate, also announced yesterday that businesses that use more than 300 kWh of electricity could reclaim the tax.

Hours after Finance and Planning Minister Dr Peter Phillips announced the 16.5 per cent GCT on electricity use above 300 kWh on May 24, pressure began to mount as public outcry grew louder against the decision.

Simpson Miller, who had promised a roll back in GCT on electricity during the election campaign declared yesterday that she had "heard the cries of the people" and felt their pain.

"It was not possible to fulfil all the promises in the five months based on the conditions we found. As a responsive Government, after discussion with the minister of finance, the decision has been taken to completely remove GCT on electricity bills for all residential customers," Simpson Miller stated.

The charge on electricity was expected to rake in $430 million in taxes for the current financial year.

However, Simpson Miller did not explain how the administration would recover sums that had been given up with the decision to roll back the tax.

She told the country that her finance minister would provide details on the roll back as well as address other revenue measures when he closes the Budget Debate today.

Budget goodies

Removal of GCT on electricity to residential customers

Sharp cut in interest rates for NHT contributors:

- From three per cent to one per cent

- From Five per cent to three per cent

Extension in one per cent interest rate reduction to public sector workers

- From March 31, 2013 to March 31, 2015

Cut in NHT rate by one per cent for hotel workers earning $10,000 or less per week

$1.2 million grants to NHT applicants earning $10,000 or less per week

The award of 50 'Jamaica 50' scholarships to students