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Gov’t senator proposes a tax on remittances

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

KINGSTON, Jamaica - Government Senator, Floyd Morris, is proposing that a levy of approximately five per cent is placed on all remittances as an additional source of funding for the education sector.

“This is likely to yield US$100 million or JA$9 billion. The proceeds must be used to fund educational activities being implemented by the National Education Trust (NET),” he said.

The Senator was making his contribution to the State of the Nation Debate in the Senate on September 28.

He said the money from the levy would be used to finance the physical improvements and expansion of pre-primary, primary and secondary activities; provide an annual cash injection for the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB), and for these funds to be lent to students attending tertiary institutions at a rate not exceeding five per cent; and to finance the administrative expenses of the NET.

Established by the Government in 2010, the NET is charged with working with the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGO) to raise funds for the development and maintenance of education infrastructure. The aim is to eliminate the school space deficit at the primary and secondary levels and facilitate removal of the shift system.

“I want to suggest that we put in place the necessary structures to facilitate the administration of such a fund. A Board should be appointed, with the Chairman selected from among the Diaspora,” Morris noted.

He argued that these (Diaspora) are the individuals from which the monies will be sourced and so their administration of it will be critical for transparency and accountability, adding that the legislative framework must also be put in place to protect the use of the funds and to “ensure that no one can use the money as he or she pleases.”
“It is my belief that if we can put in place this mechanism, we would be well on our way to solving the age-old problem of funding for education,” Morris added.

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