First Look

Roll back Bank Transaction Tax says G2K

G2K | 2014-04-21 00:00:00

Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP),voiced its condemnation of the new tax on withdrawals outlined by the Minister of Finance in opening the budget debate on Thursday; labeling it as an abuse of the poor and working class and called upon the Government to take immediate steps to withdraw it. The organisation suggested that the Minister use his closing debate to replace the tax with a comprehensive programme to collect outstanding taxes and new systems to prevent tax evasion.

“There can be no doubt that the people of Jamaica can withstand no more taxes, with Minister Phillips imposing  over 40 billion in taxes over the last 3 years which have crippled the working class, retarded business growth and pushed more people into poverty” said Floyd Green, president of G2K. “Despite his pronouncements to the contrary the Minister has outlined a tax that threatens to send the average Jamaican into a life of perpetual poverty, especially when coupled with the pending increase in electricity charges and the never ending increases of the cost of living.”

Bad For Business

The organisation noted that the proposed Bank Transaction Tax will increase the cost of doing business in Jamaica and as such make Jamaica a less competitive market for its own local investors and to attract Foreign Direct investment.

“It is clear that this Minister does not believe in the power of business to grow Jamaica out of its predicament as these taxes are clearly anti business. We already have one of the most burdensome taxation systems across the Caribbean and adding additional costs to transaction business daily is a backward and nonsensical step” continued Green.

Bad for People

The organisation went on to indicate that the levy serves to dwindle the income of the average Jamaican, many of who are forced to interact with banking institutions to access their salaries and are already subject to exorbitant fees.

“Our civil servants will be hard pressed by this tax, already their fixed income has been almost wiped out by the unabated slide in the Jamaican dollar and the over 30 % increase in the cost of a number of basic food items over the past year, this tax is sure to be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.” Green added.

Misplaced Focus

G2K indicated that the Minister’s budget presentation would have been credible and inspiring if he had taken the time to outline a comprehensive collection strategy and new measures to tackle evasion which in the short term could result in the Government seeing billions recouped in taxes.The organisation noted that the Government has yet to indicate what has been done to recover the of the 1.2 billion in taxes owed by 11 importers as outlined in the Auditor General 2013 report, which is more than half of the targeted income of the new Bank Transaction tax.

“The people must reject this tax and send the Government back to the drawing board. The Government has done little to strengthen systems of transparency and accountability to ensure that we, the taxpayers, are getting value for our money and not simply feeding the party faithful. It is also clear that this Government does not have the political will to ensure that proper and efficient systems are instituted so that all are caught in the tax net and are instead quite content to rape all Jamaicans especially the poor and the working class, by constantly calling upon those who pay, to pay more” said Green


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