No New Taxes to Fund Jamaica Government’s Budget – And It’s The First Time in 14 Years

Minister of Finance Audley Shaw (left) holds up a paper declaring ‘NO NEW TAXES’ for the 2018/19 fiscal year, while Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right), and other Members of Parliament show their support. (Photo: JIS)

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday March 9, 2018 – 
Finance Minister Audley Shaw announced yesterday that government was keeping its promise not to impose any new taxes on Jamaicans this fiscal year.

Opening the budget debate in the House of Representatives yesterday, he said the Andrew Holness administration would not be introducing new revenue measures to fund the J$773.6 billion (US$6 billion) budget for 2018/2019.

Instead, he said it intends to do so from revenue and grants, which are “passively” forecast at J$590.6 billion (US$4.6 billion) or 29.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), among other sources.

“For the first time in 14 years there is some relief for the Jamaican people,” he told Parliament.

“We have seen that, along with increased compliance measures, there has been tax revenue buoyancy… (and) along with our continued fiscal discipline, we have also been able to contain expenditures.”

In his speech, themed ‘Stability, Growth and Prosperity – Our Goal, Our Responsibility’, Shaw said tax revenue this year is budgeted at J$518.4 billion (US$4 billion), representing 25.7 per cent of GDP.

That sum, he indicated, is expected to account for 87.8 per cent of total revenue and grants, compared to the 88.8 per cent projected out-turn for 2017/18.

Non-tax revenue is forecast to be J$60.9 billion (US$477.5 million) or three per cent of GDP, representing a 14 per cent increase over the revised 2017/18 Estimates.

Shaw said capital revenue is programmed at J$2.1 billion (US$16.5 million), with grants projected to total J$9.1 billion (US$71.4 million) or 0.4 per cent of GDP.

“This (grants projection) reflects an increase of 101 per cent. The amount includes European Union grant inflows totalling $3.6 billion, of which $1.4 billion is budgeted to support the Justice Sector Reform Programme, while $2.3 billion represents the second tranche (of) budget support receipts under the Accompanying Measures for Sugar Protocol Countries 2013 Financing Agreement,” the Minister stated.

Shaw also reiterated the Government’s undertaking to continue the tax reform programme.

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