Business

'Do away with tax waivers altogether'

Wednesday, January 16, 2013    

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THE Government should discontinue tax waivers altogether, by Devon Barrett's reckoning.

Much like with the collection of PAYE and the treatment of withholding tax, all taxes should be collected and then refunds can be provided based on "favourable consideration", according to the general manager of VM Wealth Management.

Barrett also wants to see public debt owed to Government entities swapped for state-owned assets along with the establishment of the Central Treasury Management System.

He believes the measures would fit neatly into a slate of reforms that would unlock growth and lead to better fiscal management.

The Government must "develop a credible medium-term programme, with a clear path to getting there", said Barrett in his presentation at a Kiwanis Club of Kingston luncheon held at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel yesterday. "Not simply put down a wish list of numbers with no real idea of how to bridge the gaps."Aside from reforming and modernising the tax system, restructuring the public sector and increasing primary surpluses, the investment banker suggested that the Government focus on improving efficiency, productivity and economic pass-through of its infrastructure projects.

"The government has done a lot in terms of infrastructure projects and implementing other enabling policies, but the positives have not been realised," he said.

What's more, he wants to see major projects currently in the pipeline, including the US$1.3-billion Petrojam expansion, Caymanas infrastructure development (to be done by the Factories Corporation of Jamaica), and PS's 360 megawatt plant at Old Harbour using LNG or other cost-effective fuel come to fruition.

"In the aftermath of any International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreement and if the Public Sector Transformation Unit (PSTU) executes its mandate, there will be a reduced role for government," said Barrett. "So private sector will need to step up and assume it's true role of being the engine of growth."

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