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Hold off on that new gas tax, GCT, Patriots urges

Posted by Dresonic on April 27, 2009

The Patriots, the young professionals arm of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), weekend urged the Government to delay implementation of the new gas tax and GCT, saying it had found breaches that would short change many Jamaicans.

The group said it had conducted a survey of over 50 service stations Islandwide and found that several of them were operating without the proper Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) certification stickers or with expired ones, said Raymond Pryce, head of the Patriots.

Pryce said that for some time the BSJ in carrying out its mandate under the Weights and Measures Act, had embarked upon a campaign to certify petrol pumps. The BSJ affixes a sticker on to pumps to assure consumers that the volume of petrol purchased is the actual volume of petrol received.

On the increase of GCT on some food items, the Patriots queried if the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC) had done a proper survey of items to be placed on the tax list.

“We are raising concerns that the CAC ought to have been instructed to survey the cost of items that previously did not attract GCT prior to the date for the application of the GCT. We are contending that this would have enabled the CAC to do a pre and post comparative analysis to ensure that consumers are only paying the additional amount for the GCT and are not being charged additional amounts as shop owners and retailers “seek to take advantage of the lack of available information to consumers”, said Pryce.

In light of these concerns, he said: “We are calling on the Government to delay the imposing of these new taxes, including GCT on items until it is also able to release a clear list of these items. We are also calling for this delay until the minister (Karl Samuda) with responsibility for the Bureau of Standards and the Consumer Affair Commission can give a declarative commitment to the public that both of those agencies have all of the resources, human and financial, to monitor the situation that the additional increases in goods and services reflect only the 16.5 per cent in terms of GCT and the 8.75 cents in terms of gasoline,” said Pryce.

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