Following yesterday’s reading of the Budget, some entertainers have shared their views on the proposed taxation packages put forward by Finance Minister Audley Shaw.
There will be increases in gas prices, alcohol, and tobacco.
The Government also said it would reduce its threshold on electricity, which means Jamaicans will pay more in the event that they use more than a certain amount of electricity.
Reggae artiste Queen Ifrica supports the taxation imposed on alcohol and tobacco.
“Those are the ones that make the most money so those corporations can pay back a little more. As for alcohol, I don’t drink that, mi drink a little red wine but that is medicine. Tobacco, on the other hand, should not even be on the shelves because it is poison. My personal decision would be to ban tobacco,” she said.
However, she was not pleased with the plan for electricity.
“The electricity thing now, I think the Government should pay more on behalf of the Jamaican people than less because that is what Jamaicans want to hear. The majority of Jamaicans want a relief … why do governments always come up with plans to oppress the people further? It would be good to hear some good news for once,” she said.
Dancehall artiste Savage, however, feels the gas price was already too high. He lamented that Jamaicans should have no problem with taxation once they are seeing the results in the development of the country.
“I have no problem with the tobacco tax because I don’t touch that, a straight herb. The alcohol tax now, if that a guh affect the promoters, mi nuh like it because then it a guh affect me. At the end of the day, tax have to run the country, so once the people get what they paid for, like good health care and better roads, I have no problems,” he said.
Veteran producer/politician Patrick Roberts believes a raising of the gas tax will spiral a domino effect in the prices of other goods and services.
He also thinks the Government should be cautious as to the extent at which they impose taxes, despite the fact that it is unavoidable.
“Taxation is inevitable, but it is how you put it across and how you sensitise your nation. However, the key is to give up some and take some,” Roberts said.
Shaw also said Jamaica Urban Transit Corporation bus fares would not be increased and that the student loan interest rate and property tax were both to be decreased