No real benefit
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The announcement by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in her Budget presentation to completely remove GCT on electricity for all residential customers is a three-card trick and offers no benefit to the vast majority of Jamaicans.
The overwhelming majority of Jamaica Public Service Co (JPS) users do not pay GCT on their electricity bills in the first place, as they use less than the original taxable threshold of 200 kwh per month. Of the approximately 500,000 JPS residential customers, 377,000 use less than 200kwh of electricity per month, representing around 75 per cent of residential users.
And those who use 300 kwh of electricity per month amount to 52,000 residential or roughly 10 per cent. These users are largely higher-income households.
In the end, the vast majority of residential users never paid GCT in the first place and, as such, will benefit in no way from Simpson Miller's announcement.
For the overall Budget presentation, Simpson Miller only reinforced a now commonly held view that the current administration is completely at sea on where to take the country and how to get the Jamaican economy in a mode of sustained growth and development.
Further yet, consumers will continue to reel from GCT slapped on a broad range of basic food items among other things. With the Budget already unrealistic and bound to collapse in short order, the Jamaican economy will no doubt continue to deteriorate.