Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding have indicated that he will address the nation a day before Christmas to address the issue of the government’s proposed tax package in a national broadcast to be aired on Wednesday, December 23, on all radio and television stations at 9 PM.
In his statement, the Prime Minister indicated that government was attempting a re-examination of the existing composition of the tax package. He said this would be done in order to determine if there are suitable alternatives to finding the $21 Billion of revenue required to support the programme negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while at the same time reducing the harsh impact on the society, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Preliminary indications underline that the decision was taken following a series of meetings with members of the Cabinet and a technical team from the Ministry of Finance, during which a number of new proposals were discussed.
The meetings were held in the wake of a statement on Sunday in which the Prime Minister said he had heard the cry and appeal of the Jamaican people and their concerns about the proposed new tax measures.
In a letter to the Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, the Prime Minister indicated:
“I propose to address the nation through a national broadcast tomorrow evening in which I will outline the changes to the tax package as announced last Thursday. Every effort has been made to minimize the impact on the majority of the Jamaican people who we know are already burdened by the impact of the global recession. It is to be recognized however, that the widening gap between our revenues and expenditure must be cauterized. This is an essential prerequisite for an IMF programme and the support of the other multilateral institutions which is contingent thereon.
Critical to the IMF programme, as well is the implementation of the new tax package as of January 1.
As I indicated to you on Thursday, we will facilitate a debate in Parliament early in the new year not only on the details of the proposed IMF programme but on the medium term economic strategy and performance targets as well as the policies to be pursued to stimulate economic growth and job creation.”