Prime Minister, Withdraw All The Additional Taxes That Were Announced By Finance Minister And Go Forward With A Policy Of “Higher Growth And Lower Taxes”. Jain
An Open Letter To Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Dear Hon. Prime Minister
Re: Additional Tax Package for FY 2017/18
I am concerned about the Budget as presented. It is not a good move for the country .Hence, I feel that it is my duty to write this letter for your kind consideration. I believe that you can accept my recommendations and by doing so make an unprecedented welcome step to move the country out of the trap of “additional taxes” leading to “additional poverty”. You have this golden opportunity to move the country out of this vicious circle.
The Budget as presented gives the following impressions:
- It is a routine “balancing the books “budget without any “out of the box” thinking
- The government is not confident about its strategy to grow the economy and the automatic increase in tax intake that will flow from the economic growth
- The government is not confident about its ability to collect the arrears of taxes and wants the status quo to continue whereby the compliant tax payers should continue to bear additional burden for those who are not paying taxes-this vicious circle needs to be broken
- The government does not believe that the tax compliance can be significantly improved and accepts the status quo of just marginal improvement in the tax collections
- The government does not believe that the additional taxes can have a negative impact on growth
- The government does not believe that the taxation level in Jamaica is already too high
- The government does not believe that a Finance Minister can present a Budget with “no additional taxes”.
- The government has not announced any new initiatives to increase production, productivity and exports
- The additional taxes are necessary to finance the increase in the income tax threshold
I believe that you are a Prime Minister who is prepared to “think out of the box” and who has a strong commitment to grow the economy.
You should therefore do a complete reassessment of the situation and consider making a presentation to address the above impressions that people may have and then conclude on the following lines:
1. We are a government which listens to the people
2. We have listened to the people
Based on people’s feedback we have reconsidered the whole subject and decided to do the following:
- Withdraw all the additional taxes that were announced by the Hon. Finance Minister
- Make a determined “do or die” effort to collect at least 20 Billion out of more than 200 Billion of tax arrears during 2017/18 -we are confident that it can be done and will show that we can do it
- Make a determined effort to improve the level of compliance and collect at least 10 Billion more as result to this improvement- we know that this can be done and will show that we can do it
- We will establish a Tax Compliance Council to develop strategies to improve and monitor the performance of the collection of arrears, simplification of tax system and improvement in tax compliance. The Council will submit a monthly report to the people of Jamaica.
We believe that all Jamaicans will welcome these moves and will do everything possible to help the government in achieving these targets and stop the cycle of additional taxes being imposed every year.
On the successful achievement of these targets, the government will consider an appropriate reduction of some taxes commencing from the Financial Year 2018/19
Going forward our policy will be to “higher growth and lower taxes”.
Sushil Jain Jamaican Financial Analyst And Public Affairs Commentator