PNP senator dismisses party leader’s call for GCT reduction

PNP Senator Dr Andre Haughton

People’s National Party Senator Andre Haughton has dismissed his party leader’s call for a two percentage point reduction in the General Consumption Tax (GCT).

Haughton, speaking at the State of the Nation debate in the Jamaican Senate on Friday, said the suggestion was instead, a bait by his party leader, Dr Peter Phillips, as the proposal was not workable.

“We have to think more carefully about what our objectives are.”

— Haughton

According to Haughton, the proposal would have a negative cumulative effect across the board, which would result in more hardship for the average Jamaican.

Haughton said: “If we are supposed to reduce GCT by two percentage points, moving from 16.5 to 14.5 per cent, it will cost the country about $25b to $26b, assuming that every year we take $200b from GCT.

PNP leader Dr Peter Phillips called for a reduction in GCT in November.

“What is the benefit of the average consumer? I mean, if you buy something for $100, you pay $16.50 in GCT, you’re going to save $2. You buy something for $1,000, you might save $20. You buy something for $10,000, you are going to save $200. Then you going to buy something for $100,000, you will save $2,000.

“Now, is this saving as significant enough to each Jamaican for us to sacrifice $26b to achieve? Is it? We have to think more carefully about what our objectives are,” Haughton said.

Phillips had made the call for the reduction of the GCT in November at the PNP’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting.