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Gov't should revert to productive JLP policies, says Shaw

Published:Friday | January 3, 2014 | 9:12 AM

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

Former finance minister Audley Shaw has suggested that the Government revert to some of the measures implemented under the previous Jamaica Labour Party administration to fill the existing revenue gap.

The Government admitted last month that it is facing an $8 billion revenue shortfall, accumulated over the April to November period.

It said the shortfall is the result of lower imports and weak economic and labour market conditions.

The news of the shortfall has increased fears that a new tax package could be announced to fill the gap.

However, former finance minister Audley Shaw agrees with Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness that Jamaicans are beyond their tax limit.

Shaw says the most practical move for the People’s National Party administration is to implement growth inducing strategies which include reverting to some of the measures it discontinued after forming the Government in December 2011.

The JLP administration had reduced transfer taxes and stamp and motor vehicle import duties and removed the tax on dividends.

However, he says the Government's decision to increase these taxes and re-impose a tax on dividends have proven counterproductive.

Shaw says the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration must be creative if it wants to increase business and investor confidence and drive business activity.

Shaw says while private sector members of the committee monitoring the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme announce that targets are being met, they quietly complain about a lack of economic activity.

Meanwhile, the Economic Programme Oversight Committee which monitors Jamaica’s IMF programme, is to meet next Wednesday to review a new tax proposal.

However, yesterday, the Opposition Leader argued against the imposition of new taxes saying a tax package announced last February which was expected to raise $15.9 billion has been unsuccessful.


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