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Barbados moving to reform tax system

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Barbados moving to reform tax system

Sunday, February 10, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados Government is moving to reform its indirect tax system and is seeking assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, Director of Finance Ian Carrington, has said.

Carrington said that the two Washington-based financial institutions are providing the island with technical assistance by looking at its indirect taxes relative to corporate taxes, so as to bring them back into balance.He said that the IMF tax officials have been examining the various taxes, namely the valued added tax, income tax, stamp duty, and betting and gaming.

Carrington said that the officials were also having discussions with the acting revenue commissioner, the comptroller of Customs, all of the revenue agencies, the private sector, and the Small Business Association of Jamaica.

“The reason Barbados has to reform the system is because we have made changes to our corporate taxes, as a result of seeking to be compliant with the European Union and the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). We have removed the ring fence between the international business companies and the domestic ones by reducing their corporate tax rate down to the maximum of five per cent.

“As a result, this creates the opportunity for individuals to corporatise, that is, set up themselves as a business to seek to pay a lower level of taxes by making themselves appear to be a business…,” he said.

Carrington said since Barbados has entered into a US$290-million programme with the IMF, the Mia Mottley Government has had to make sure no deficiency in revenue was created.

“The result is to bring both the direct and the indirect taxes back into balance. Therefore, we are pressing ahead to reform the indirect tax system by the next financial year (which starts in April), and so the IMF tax team has to get back to Government with its suggestions before the end of this financial year.”

Carrington said in the case of the World Bank, the assistance to Barbados would be in helping to operationalise decisions at the policy level, so as to ensure that the systems and procedures were correct.

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Caricom conducting CSME sensitisation meetings in Jamaica

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A delegation from the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat is here for a series of engagements with the various stakeholders including the private sector and the labour movement on the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME).

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour, and services across the 15-member regional grouping, and the week-long sensitisation programme is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.

A statement issued by the Guyana-based secretariat said the Caricom representatives will today participate in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 procurement seminar where Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke will address delegates on the Government’s procurement initiative for medium small and micro enterprises.

It said that Gladys Young, officer in charge of the Caricom Secretariat’s CSME Unit, will make a presentation on the ‘Future of Regional Procurement’.

A workshop on ‘Demystifying the CSME Regimes: Seizing the opportunities — addressing the challenges’ will take place on Wednesday at the Mona campus of The University of the West Indies (UWI).

The Caricom delegation will also meet with officials from Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association; Media Association of Jamaica; and Press Association of Jamaica.

– CMC

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Let the public be the judge

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Let the public be the judge

Phillips mum on Integrity Commission’s failure to release Andrew Holness’ statutory declaration

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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OPPOSITION Leader Dr Peter Phillips says he is leaving it to members of the public to form their opinions on the failure of the Integrity Commission to publish a summary of the statutory declaration of Prime Minister Andrew Holness for last year.

Under the law the commission is to publish in the Jamaica Gazette the summary of the statutory declarations of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition annually.

Government officials have claimed that the commission sought clarity on an aspect of the declaration provided by Holness and this has already been provided.

But up to late yesterday there was no indication that the commission had published the information.

The commission, on July 12, published information that showed Phillips and his family with total income of $53.8 million, assets of $60.4 million, plus US$61.5 thousand in saving accounts, US$502,000 in securities and US$19.7 thousand in life insurance cash value.

Following a media briefing where he provided further details on a crime summit being planned by the Opposition for July 30, Phillips told the Jamaica Observer that he would not want to get into any extensive discussion on why the Integrity Commission has so far failed to gazette the declaration of the prime minister.

“The expression of concern should be that expressed by the Integrity Commission rather than myself because then it would descend into a matter of political point scoring,” said Phillips.

“The law provides that the Integrity Commission is the watchdog, the protector of the country’s national institutions — our parliament, our civil service, security forces, and the like. It should be the one that discharges that responsibility in a non-partisan fashion which enables it to secure the widest possible support among the general public,” added Phillips.

Earlier Phillips told members of the media that the Opposition was disappointed with the failure of the Holness Administration to convene a meeting with stakeholders to discuss Jamaica’s high murder rate and criminality, as agreed in the Vale Royal Talks some seven months ago.

“Given the fact that Jamaica has had seven states of emergency and a continuing high murder rate, we can wait no longer to convene a meeting of stakeholders as envisaged by the Vale Royal Agreement,” said Phillips.

“We consider it vital to convene the national stakeholders meeting now to agree on a national position so that all stakeholders can embrace the decisions and support their implementation,” added Phillips.

According to Phillips, the crime meeting will be a national effort, non-partisan in tone and content, and one that delivers tangible results.

“We are not about scoring political points,” declared Phillips.

He said the meeting will be convened under the theme, ‘Securing a safer Jamaica’, at the Jamaica Conference Centre and will assemble key stakeholders including the church, the private sector, and academics.

“I should point out that I have extended invitations to the minister of justice (Delroy Chuck), the attorney general (Marlene Malahoo-Forte), the minister of national security (Horace Chang), the Jamaica Labour Party, and we do hope that they will join us in this non-partisan effort to fight crime,” said Phillips.

“The meeting’s objective is to highlight causative factors and identify possible solutions which may include a set of sustainable, actionable, and results-orientated measures which could ultimately bring the dire crime situation under control,” he added.

The Opposition leader said a report of the consultations, with recommendations, will be presented to the Government, “which we hope will be accepted and implemented”.

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South African leader slams ‘flawed’ graft report

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PRETORIA, South Africa (AFP) — South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday slammed as “fundamentally and irretrievably flawed” findings by a watchdog concerning a donation to his 2017 campaign to head the ruling party.

“After careful study I have concluded that the report is fundamentally and irretrievably flawed,” Ramaphosa told reporters, adding that he has “decided to seek an urgent judicial review” of the findings concerning a controversial 500,000 rand (US$36,000) donation.

The country’s ombudswoman, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, said in an explosive report last Friday that Ramaphosa “deliberately misled the National Assembly” when he responded to an opposition question in Parliament last November.

Ramaphosa initially told lawmakers that the payment was to his son Andile for consultancy work for Bosasa, now known as African Global Operations (AGO).

But he later said it was a donation towards his campaign to become African National Congress party leader — a hard-fought battle in which he beat ex-president Jacob Zuma’s chosen candidate.

He apologised saying he had been misinformed when he first answered the question.

Despite the correction, Mkhwebane said Ramaphosa “indeed misled parliament” and that he should not have rushed to answer the question without having all the facts in hand.

Ramaphosa said the allegations against him by the public protector — or ombudswoman — “are serious… and should not be taken lightly”.

But the report “contains numerous factual inaccuracies of a material nature”, he said.

“The findings are wrong in law, are irrational and, in some instances, exceed the scope of the powers of the public protector,” he said.

“Given these deficiencies… it is appropriate that the courts make a final and impartial determination on this matter.”

Ramaphosa, who is just two months into a new term since the May elections, said he wanted “an expedited review process so that we do not keep the country in limbo about these matters”.

He stressed that the decision to turn to the courts should not be seen as judging the competence of the ombudswoman or her motives, “but is motivated instead by a determination that the law should be applied correctly and consistently”.

Critics of the ombudswoman accuse her of dabbling in ANC factional battles.

But Ramaphosa said he would not be distracted.

“I want to continue doing the work that I was elected for, and indeed this matter should never be a distraction,” he said.

Analysts suggest that damning allegations could boost Ramaphosa’s opponents within the ANC, which is riven by infighting.

Ramaphosa replaced the graft-tainted Zuma on promises to fight corruption.

But the party of Nelson Mandela is now bitterly split between Zuma supporters and those backing Ramaphosa, who took the helm after Zuma became entangled in a series of corruption scandals.

The former president faces an inquiry into corruption during his nine-year rule.

On Friday Zuma withdrew from testifying in the inquiry, complaining of bias, but agreed to return at a future date.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive

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