Don't cut GCT

Don't cut GCT

Opposition senator says savings to consumers from reduction in consumption tax not worth it

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver. com

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Print this page Email A Friend!


OPPOSITION Senator Andre Haughton yesterday criticised the appeal by his own party leader, Dr Peter Phillips, for a two percentage point reduction in the General Consumption Tax (GCT).

In his maiden contribution to the Senate's annual State of the Nation, Senator Haughton, an economist, suggested that the Opposition leader was “fiddling” with the figures when he made the suggestion, as was Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Audley Shaw when he suggested that it was worth consideration.

Our party leader tossed out a bait about reducing GCTby two percentage points, and I heard [Government] Senator Charles Sinclair, as well as Audley Shaw [suggesting that it should be taken into consideration] without breaking down the numbers,” Senator Haughton stated.

“Let me break up the numbers,” said Haughton.

“If we are to reduce GCT by two percentage points, meaning reduce it from 16.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent, it would cost the country $25 billion to $26 billion annually, assuming that every year we take in $200 billion from GCT. This two percentage point [reduction] is going to cost the country $26 billion! That is the average cost. Now what is the benefit to the average Jamaican consumer?

“I mean, if you buy something for $100 and you pay 14.5 per cent [GCT] you are going to save $2. If you buy something for $1,000, you are going to save $20. If you buy something for $10,000, you are going to save $200, and if you buy something for $100,000, you are going to save $2,000. Mr President, is this saving significant enough to ask Jamaicans to sacrifice $26 billion to achieve.

“We have to think more carefully about what our objectives are,” he said to loud cheers from government benches. “I have never been the advocate for the fiddling of numbers. I believe that whatever the cost we incur as a nation it must be to the full benefit of the country,” he added to more applause.

Senator Haughton also referred to several other issues affecting the country, including the exchange rate, for which he criticised politicians and academics who insist that the surge in the foreign exchange rate is not important.

He also criticised the lack of basic amenities in the public health institutions, and called for a more concerted effort to reverse the growing number of dengue fatalities.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT