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Stranger causes scare in the House

Published:Friday | June 9, 2023 | 7:23 AM
Finance Minister, Seymour Mulling, arrived at Gordon House on June 8, 1989.

As the minister of finance sought to explain the budget that included more than $200m in taxes, a strange face raised an alarm in the Parliament. The man was later identified as an adviser from the Ministry of Finance.

Published Friday, June 9, 1989

$250m MORE TAXES

-Autos, phones to bear the brunt

Increased TAXES on travel, telephone service, education and motor vehicle sales were announced yesterday by Mr Seymour Mullings, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, as he opened the 1989-90 Budget Debate.

The increased taxation is expected to net $205 million this financial year to cover a similar deficit in revenues required to finance the 1989-90 capital expenditures.

According to a summary tabled in the House of Representative simultaneous with Mr Mulling's announcement, the increases are:

TRAVEL TAX - An increase in the level of tax from the current $40 to $80 payable by all, except cruise ship passengers who will continue to pay $22 on landing in Jamaica, effective today. This is expected to yield $40 million.

STAMP DUTY on travel tickets - An increase in the rate of the duty from 450 to $100 on each ticket in respect of travellers leaving Jamaica, from today. This is expected to yield $40 million.

      

TELEPHONE SERVICE - Increase from 10 per cent to 15 per cent on the tax on telephone calls and telex messages, effective today. This is expected to yield $20 million.

EDUCATION TAX - Increase in the rates payable by employees, employers and self-employed persons of between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of emoluments effective from next Monday and expected to yield $125 million. The freeze on the tax, which came into effect in the 1986, has been released.

     

RETAIL SALES TAX - A new rate of 84 per cent (a 27 per cent hike) on motor cars with CIF value of US$15,000 (J$82,500) and over for both vehicles with engine capacity of over 2000cc designed to use petrol; and. diesel-fuelled vehicles with engine capacity exceeding 2200cc, effective today. This is going to yield $5 million.

     

Mr Mullings said the expected capital revenue for 1989-90 is $822 million. However, there is capital expenditure, inclusive of amortisation, of $3.523 million. The Government has identified loans, external and local, totalling $1,924.5 million, which was still a gap of $205 million.

 

NO STRANGER

The House of Representatives was stunned yesterday when the Speaker, the Hon. Headley Cunningham, rose during the Finance Minister's address, gavelled and intoned: "I see a stranger in the House."

The "stranger" rushed out of the Chamber, and Mr Hugh Small. O.C., Minister of Mining and Energy, to whom the man had been speaking, rose and apologised.

Outside, the man, Mr Julius Adeyisa, a Nigerian consultant working in the public enterprise section of the Ministry of Finance, explained that he had been going to join a group of civil servants from the ministry seated inside the chamber to assist Mr Mullings.

An employee of the Ministry explained his presence to security officers and he was taken into the chamber to sit with his colleagues.

   

At the end of the sitting, Mr Cunningham explained: "The apparent stranger was not a genuine stranger, but an adviser from the Ministry of Finance who did not know the geography of the House and lost his way." The Members laughed.

 

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