First Look

The JMA is NOT close to deal on Sugar Cess with Government

Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association | 2015-11-10 00:00:00

The Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) strongly refutes the assertion of Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Labour and Security, Derrick Kellier regarding claims of an impending agreement between the JMA and the government on the proposed imposition of a cess on sugar. The JMA is disappointed with the inaccurate comments made by the Minister at the 78th Annual Conference of the Jamaica Sugar Technologists (JCT) in Ocho Rios St. Ann, on Friday November 6, 2015. We want to make it clear, that contrary to his statement in the media, the Minister of Agriculture is not “near an agreement with the JMA in relation to that matter.”

While the Association is a member of the Sub-Committee established to review the cess on sugar, our engagement with the Ministry is still ongoing. The Association’s position on the matter remains unchanged and we use this opportunity to reaffirm such. The JMA continues to object to the imposition of a cess on refined sugar for production, to fund the transformation of the agriculture sector.

The JMA advances that the Food and Beverage Industry is critical to the growth and development of Jamaica, competing without support in a liberalized global environment and should not be placed at a disadvantage to finance the brown sugar industry. Contrary to the claims made by Minister Kellier, the imposition of a cess on imported sugar does not “level the playing field,” and contradicts government policy direction to not tax inputs for the productive sector.

Among the JMA’s recommendations is a suggestion that all sugar intended for retail purposes should be appropriately packaged, indicating weight, country of origin, brand, local supplier and other particulars. This will ensure the retailer’s compliance and combat any leakages, real or perceived.

The JMA is urging all of the stakeholders in this discussion to ensure accuracy and moderation in their public statements, especially in the current season, so that we may work together to achieve a rational and equitable solution.

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Posted By :Rochelle Roye

Company Name : Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association

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