Finance and Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says he does not anticipate any challenge to Jamaica meeting future International Monetary Fund (IMF) targets consequent on the Government’s decision not to introduce new revenue measures to fund the 2018/19 Budget.
“Not at all. We are going to focus on areas of compliance across the major tax types – at Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), as well as critically, (Jamaica) Customs (Agency)… that’s what I am going to be concentrating on during this new fiscal year,” he said.
He was responding to questions from journalists at the joint Government of Jamaica (GoJ)/IMF press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday (March 9).
Noting that the Government continues to place considerable emphasis on fiscal consolidation and responsibility, Mr. Shaw said measures will be instituted to plug revenue losses, particularly at the ports which he stressed were “significant”.
“I am seeking to have 100 per cent scanning of all containers coming into the country… with state-of-the-art scanning equipment. We are going to cut down on the corruption… we are going to cut down on the illegal importation of a lot of things like cigarettes and other things that are coming and are robbing the country of revenue,” he said.
Mr Shaw said based on the results of similar interventions instituted in other jurisdictions “it is estimated that… if we can plug that leakage (this) could see revenue increasing by somewhere (from) 20 to 30 to 40 per cent… at Customs.”
He said that the increased scanning procedures and other attendant measures would also serve to boost national security.
Mr. Shaw, who opened the 2018/19 Budget Debate at Gordon House on Thursday (March 8), indicated that the Government will be funding expenditure during the upcoming fiscal year from tax and non-tax revenue and grants, among other sources.