MoBay Chamber wants taxes suspended on electricity bills during COVID-19 pandemic

MoBay Chamber wants taxes suspended on electricity bills during COVID-19 pandemic

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) has sided with the Jamaica Public Service's call on Government for a zero rating of the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on electricity and the removal of the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on fuel used in production of electricity, as the spread of COVID-19 continues to disrupt economic activities.

"The rapid spread of COVID-19 continues to significantly disrupt lives, communities and economic activities. It is crucial at this time that all players work together to minimize the impact on the public and limit disruptions to the Jamaican economy. Suspending the GCT and SCT for the next three months will reduce the energy bill, which would aid both the businesses and the general public in this strenuous period," MBCCI President Janet Silvera said in a release.

"We hope the Government of Jamaica will see the widespread benefit of responding positively to this call, and ask that they do so without further delay."

The call comes as the cut to 15 per cent from 16.5 per cent in the standard rate of GCT payable in respect to taxable goods and service, takes effect today.

Recently, JPS said that it is lobbying the Government for a zero rating of GCT on electricity for both commercial and residential customers; removal of the special consumption tax on fuel used in production of electricity by JPS and independent power producers.

In addition, the JPS is also seeking assistance with securing stable and predictable access to foreign exchange used to procure fuel for power generation – in a bid to lower the cost of electricity.

The MBCCI president also commended JPS "for stepping up its response to the coronavirus pandemic, by pledging a total of $45 million to support the fight against the outbreak and to assist our most vulnerable community, the disabled and elderly".

"We urge that in addition to this tremendous response, JPS will also consider suspending disconnections for the period, in line with what many utility companies have done, worldwide," Silvera stated.

"The MBCCI implores the public to adhere to the regulations being implemented to reduce the spread of the deadly virus and stands ready to assist our constituents in any way possible."

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