Fri | May 29, 2020

LISTEN: Paulwell backs call to suspend fuel tax and GCT on electricity

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2020 | 12:00 AM

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The Opposition is backing a proposal by the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) for the suspension of General Consumption Tax (GCT) on light bills and the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on fuel to make electricity cheaper for people amid the coronavirus crisis.

The JPS revealed yesterday that it has made the proposal to the government saying it would significantly reduce the cost of electricity to customers, most of whom are at home for longer hours as part of the COVID-19 containment measures.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Phillip Paulwell, the Opposition spokesperson on Energy said the tax suspensions would most benefit the poor.

He also said it would ease the burden on the transport and productive sectors.

"These taxes should be removed, initially for three months, as Jamaicans are encouraged to stay at home, resulting in an inevitable spike in electricity usage for many without guaranteed incomes," Paulwell said.

At the same time he wants the JPS and the National Water Commission (NWC) to halt disconnecting delinquent customers amid the health emergency.

Already, the NWC has said it will not be disconnecting customers for late payment during the COVID-19 period and the JPS has said it will suspend disconnecting service for delinquent elderly and disabled customers.

However, the JPS said it would only adjust the time before triggering disconnection for other customers for non-payment of bills.

Meanwhile, Paulwell said the Opposition is supporting the effort by the government and the Bank of Jamaica to stabilise foreign exchange pricing as part of the COVID-19 response.

He has also commended the JPS for its $45 million donation to the national effort against COVID-19.

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