The People’s National Party (PNP) has accused Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke of providing incorrect data in his Budget presentation on the additional tax revenues the government plans to raise in the upcoming fiscal year.
Opposition leader Mark Golding, in his contribution to the 2022/23 Budget Debate on March 15, described the declaration by Clarke that there will be no new taxes imposed on the Jamaican people for the upcoming fiscal year as “mere hype”.
He did so while citing that the government had projected to raise $99 billion in new taxes during the period.
However, Clarke, while closing the Budget Debate on Tuesday, attacked Golding for relying on what he said was faulty analysis.
Opposition Leader Mark Golding
“First point of correction, tax revenues are projected to grow by $65 billion in 2022/23 and not $99 billion as erroneously and inaccurately claimed by the Opposition leader,” Clarke stated while pointing to page 6 of the Fiscal Policy Paper.
“He [Golding] has been all over town with the wrong figure, and wrong by a big amount, on a crucially important variable, misinforming the Jamaican people,” Clarke declared.
“Strong and wrong. Dem nuh ready, Madam Speaker. Dem nuh ready,” Clarke added.
Clarke accused the Opposition leader of using an inaccurate figure and of engaging in wrong analysis, thus ending up with wrong solutions.
“And beyond that, ‘him surely take Jamaican people for fools, expecting them to confuse revenue growth for tax increases. I have a word for you: the Jamaican people are much smarter than to fall for that nonsense,” said Clarke.
The PNP responded on Tuesday, charging that Clarke had wrongfully accused Golding of providing incorrect data in his presentation on the additional tax revenues the government plans to raise.
“The Opposition leader correctly indicated that the government plans to raise additional tax revenues of $99 billion. This figure comes from the tabled ‘Revenue Estimates 2022/23’ document which shows that the government plans to take in tax revenues of $671 billion for the fiscal year 22/23 up from $572 billion for the fiscal year 21/22,” said the Opposition spokesman on finance, Julian Robinson, in a statement.
Robinson pointed out that an additional amount of $99 billion is stated on page 2 of the document tabled in the Parliament.
“The Opposition is calling on the minister of finance to apologise for misleading the House and contradicting data from his own ministry,” Robinson declared.
He attached a copy of Jamaica Revenue Estimates 2022/23 (cover and page1) as well as the 2022/23 Budget Jamaica Review by PWC (page 6) which show that the government has projected the following increase in tax revenue:
Income Tax – $19.33bnGeneral Consumption Tax -$34.27bnSpecial Consumption Tax – $8.09bnTravel Taxes – $10.91bnGuest Accommodation Room Tax – $1.93bnEducation Tax – $2.48bnOther – $22.-06bn