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Minister to lose power to grant waivers

Published:Tuesday | January 15, 2013 | 12:00 AM

The guillotine is to fall on the powers of the minister of finance to grant discretionary waivers.

Holder of the office Dr Peter Phillips yesterday said it has been agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that there "should be a sharp reduction and ultimate elimination of ministerial discretion in this regard".

Jamaica last year gave up $4.45 billion in revenue through waivers to several charities, individuals and groups.

Of the $352.5 million in waivers granted in September, charities received the lion's share - $187.6 million. Another $17.3 million was given to the manufacturing sector and $6.9 million to the agriculture sector.

The amount of waivers granted between January and September 2012 was substantially reduced from the $7.5 billion granted in 2011.

Phillips said Monday that an omnibus incentives legislation and law to determine the level of waivers given to charities will be in place by the end of this calendar year.