Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 7th 2013 Contents BG24 | REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt NOVEMBER 2013 • WEEK ONE
Minister tables bills for
new incentive regime
The Fiscal Incentives (Miscellaneous Provisions)
Act and the Income Tax Relief (Large Scale Projects
and Pioneer Industries) Act 2013 were tabled in the
House of Representatives, on October 29.
Tabled by the Minister of Finance and Planning,
Dr Peter Phillips, the Bill seeks to provide a framework
for the new Omnibus incentive regime.
The tabling of the bills meets an important struc-
tural benchmark agreed with the International Mon-
etary Fund, that involved a deadline for the prepa-
ration and tabling of legislation providing for a
consolidated generalized incentives regime.
In a statement to the Lower House, Phillips
explained that the Jamaican economy has not been
well served by the existing regime of sector-based
He said the consensus has been that such incen-
tives may have been partly responsible for Jamaica s
lacklustre track record of growth by encouraging
misallocation of limited economic resources.
The minister said the new incentive regime focuses
on the granting of incentives to the primary inputs
"It incentivises investment through streamlined
and modernised capital allowances that more closely
accord with the useful lives of assets, and it incen-
tivises the employment of labour through the instru-
ment of Employment Tax Credits," Phillips said.
The minister said one of the most often-cited
criticisms of the current incentives regime is the
extent to which the application and approval
processes represented hurdles to business persons.
These hurdles, he said, were most likely to be
overcome by those with "access" to the govern-
ment functionaries responsible for processing or
approval of applications.
"Currently, Jamaica s compliance rates across
various tax types do not compare favourably with
peer countries. Access to fiscal incentives generally
ought to apply only to compliant taxpayers. In that
regard, the system has been designed to reward only
those who are compliant, and who pay their fair
share of taxes," the minister said.
Explaining both Bills, Phillips said that the Fiscal
Incentives (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 sets
out the reforms to be carried out to corporate tax,
including the introduction of an Employment Tax
Credit (ETC), changes to the capital allowance
regime, and revision of provisions governing the
utilisation of tax losses.
He said the bill also deals with transitional arrange-
ments relating to the change from the old to the
new incentives regime.
In terms of the Income Tax Relief Act (Large-
scale Projects and Pioneer Industries) Act, it sets
out provision for the designation of large scale
projects and pioneer industries that would qualify
for tax credit under the Income Tax Act.
Other elements of the framework for the new
Omnibus Incentive Regime will be covered under
other legislation, namely the (Customs Tariff (Revi-
sion) (Amendment) Resolution 2013 and Stamp
Duty (Amendments of Schedule) Order 2013.
"These replace the myriad pieces of legislation
put in place since the 1940s and that underpin a
system which lacks administrative coherence and
generates significant tax expenditures," Phillips said.
He said the new tax incentives regime is only
one piece, albeit an essential component, of the
broader tax reform exercise being undertaken, and
which is guided by the principle of ensuring growth
with equity, transparency and simplicity.
"By providing a competitive general tax regime
that incentivises productive activities across all
sectors, it has the potential to stimulate investment
and improve the overall business environment. In
short, the overriding objective of this element of
the reform is to stimulate business activity and put
people to work," Phillips said.
He said the modern framework that will govern
the new Omnibus regime will bring benefits in
terms of more efficient allocation of resources.
"Rather than a system with a few tax-preferred
sectors that enjoy negotiated concessions, while
the non-preferred sectors are subject to higher
effective tax rates, the new generalised regime will
allow for uniformly reduced rates for all tax-com-
pliant corporate entities and individuals involved
in productive activities.
"This should also serve to enhance the compet-
itiveness of the overall economy," the Finance Min-
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr Peter Phillips
Guyana aims for record rice production
GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Guyana has produced in excess of 500,000
tonnes of rice so far this year and Agriculture Minister Dr. Leslie Ramsammy
is predicting that total production could reach as high as 600,000 tonnes.
"On Monday the October 21, for the first time in our history, we reached
a goal which many persons in this country said would be impossible, and
those who believe it was possible thought that it would not happen till
2020. On the October 21, 2013, Guyana surpassed 500,000 tonnes of rice
in our production," Ramsammy said.
"At the present time, we are approaching 522,000 tonnes. I used that
number because last year s production was 422,000 tonnes, it was a record
and for us to break that record, with more than 100,000 tonnes is an
astounding story, one that all of Guyana should be very proud of," he added.
So far this year, Guyana s rice production is 514,000 tonnes and Ramsammy
said that there are still about six to seven per cent of the cultivated lands
yet to be harvested. He expects the final figure to reach 600,000.
"Indeed, I would say to everyone that should we be able to find the
markets, not the market that would take our rice, because we have enough
people who want our rice, but the markets that would pay us the price we
want for our rice, then we can reach 600,000 tonnes within the next year
or maximum two years," he added.
Ramsammy said the increase in rice production is as a result is not as
a result of increased acreage, but as a result of higher yields.
"We consistently now surpass five tonnes per hectares, that used to be
another magical goal that we are now reaching routinely, and we believe
that we can reach six tonnes per hectares."
He said the Ministry of Agriculture is working towards that, "because
if we can do that, that is another 100,000 tonnes without adding more
land, and that would mean that our cost of production would go right down
and allow us to compete with other countries on the world market".
Guyana had two successive years (2011 and 2012) of production of more
than 400,000 tonnes of rice.
The Bahamas government has
entered into an agreement with
a major resort line that would
entail a US$90 million refurbish-
ment and expansion project at
Columbus Isle Village and on
adjacent land in San Salvador.
Prime Minister Perry Christie
said the agreement with Club
Mediteranee and Sand and Ocean
Investments Ltd as an added
partner, said the refurbishment
works of Club Med would include
existing guest rooms, buildings,
grounds, mechanical plant and
the creation of a spa and updating
"The expansion phase will con-
sist of construction of 360 new
luxury condo-hotel units and staff
housing, all of which will be built
in phases, to be developed and
financed by Sand and Ocean and
operated by Club Med.
"Additionally, Sand and Ocean
is planning the construction of a
125-room boutique hotel to be
managed by a European luxury
resort operator," Christie said,
adding the projects should be
completed within four years.
"During construction it is pro-
jected that some direct 335 jobs
will be made available to qualified
Bahamians and a minimum of
250 Bahamians would be
employed in resort operations.
Many other indirect jobs in both
the public and private sectors and
entrepreneurial opportunities will
be created," Christie said.
He said the signing of the
agreement is another "major ini-
tiative" of his government to
expand the economy, create sus-
tainable jobs, employment and
"There is more to come in fur-
ther resort development now
being planned and as we imple-
ment initiatives to reduce the cost
of electricity, modernize infra-
structure, improve healthcare,
social, education and security
services, expand agriculture and
fisheries, create new industries
and embrace emerging opportu-
nities," he added.
Christie said the projects were
a vote of confidence in his admin-
istration by Xavier Mufraggi, chief
executive officer of Club Med,
and Jean Marc Daigle, principal
of Sand and Ocean Investments,
adding that the projects would
"not only transform the economy
of San Salvador, but also impact
and undoubtedly attract other
development and employment in
the south-eastern Bahamas".
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