Above: Information Minister Sandrea Falconer
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica’s 2012/2013 budget is not what the government ideally wanted to impose on Jamaicans, according to Information Minister Sandrea Falconer.
The Minister said that merely imposing tax is not the solution, and there are several structural impediments facing the economy which will be tackled through several other efforts and initiatives.
“We are making every effort to create a more friendly business environment, bring more foreign direct investments to Jamaica and develop our infrastructure” she said, pointing to efforts aimed at fighting crime and dealing with bureaucracy.
The government is also looking to address the “stranglehold” that the cost of energy has on Jamaica’s economy, she said.
“We have in this budget sought to alleviate the pressures on the most vulnerable, by way of programmes such as JEEP and increasing the PATH allocation, increasing the personal income tax threshold; reducing the rate of GCT and maintaining the GCT-exempt status on certain basic food items,” she said. “We have also sought to protect the local economy by maintaining the GCT-exempt status on agricultural equipment, seeking to raise taxes from outside of the local economy and special consumption tax on imported meats.”
Falconer said the government recognized the need “to be responsible and honest with the Jamaican people.”
“We realize that, as leaders, we have a responsibility to secure Jamaica’s future and restore the credibility lost over the recent years,” she said. “In our 50th year of independence we cannot continue to depend on foreign loans, grants and other forms of aid. As a proud and independent people we must chart our own path.”
A World Bank report last year ranked Jamaica eighth among Caribbean countries for the ease of doing business.