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Phillips: Government has no intention to increase revenue from petroleum products

Balford Henry

Wednesday, January 29, 2014    

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FINANCE Minister Dr Peter Phillips yesterday assured the House of Representatives that the Government has no intention to increase its revenue from petroleum products.

In a statement to the House, in which he gave an update on the performance of the economy since May, Dr Phillips said that the issue relating to the General Consumption Tax (GCT) on petroleum products only relates to finding "the most efficient means of collecting the revenue".

"The issue concerns the relative merits of collecting the tax on fuel by way of a special consumption tax as we do now, or by way of GCT. There are merits and disadvantages related to each approach which we need not go into here, at this point," the minister explained.

"Let me state, however, that it is not the intention of Government to increase the revenue from petroleum products," he said.

Phillips was responding to speculation about additional GCT on petroleum that was triggered by a statement in the Quarterly Review of the Extended Fund Facility agreement with the International Monetary Fund which stated that "a study will be conducted by March 2014 on the scope for imposing GCT on petroleum products".

The statement said that conclusions from the study would guide possible implementation in 2014/15.

The possibility of GCT being imposed on petroleum products was, however, strongly rejected by the Opposition. Its spokesman on industry, investment and commerce, Karl Samuda, said that the consequences of any such move would be bad for the economy.

"The Opposition will not support any additional taxation at this time," Samuda insisted then.

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