Farm­ers say re­moval of GCT will boost op­er­a­tions

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Tameka Gor­don Busi­ness Re­porter

LO­CAL FARM­ERS are an­tic­i­pat­ing an an­nounce­ment of the re­moval of gen­eral con­sump­tion tax (GCT) on agri­cul­tural in­puts, which in­sid­ers say could come by the end of this month.

But the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries is mum on the im­ple­men­ta­tion date and a de­fin­i­tive re­sponse on the ex­pected off­set for the rev­enue that the State will be giv­ing up.

Farm­ers have long com­plained of in­suf­fi­cient equip­ment, even as they hold back on in­vest­ments, cit­ing pro­hib­i­tive costs of im­port­ing the ma­chin­ery and tools needed. But all that is set to change. Speak­ing at a two-day Cli­mate-Smart Agri­cul­ture Sym­po­sium, held at The Ja­maica Pe­ga­sus ho­tel, in New Kingston, min­is­ter with­out port­fo­lio in the Min­istry of In­dus­try, Com­merce, Agri­cul­ture and Fish­eries, J.C. Hutchin­son, sig­nalled that the with­drawal of GCT on farm­ing equip­ment was im­mi­nent.

Min­is­ter Karl Sa­muda later told Gleaner Busi­ness that the mat­ter is still “un­der re­view by the Min­istry of Fi­nance, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Min­istry of In­dus­try and Com­merce”, and that an of­fi­cial state­ment would be made once the re­view was com­plete.

Hanif Brown, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Pig Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (JPFA), says the re­moval of GCT on farm­ing in­puts was pitched to the min­istry as one way to strengthen the sec­tor com­ing out of the pig short­age that pre­vailed for nearly two years.

The as­so­ci­a­tion, along with sev­eral oth­ers, has been

Don We­hby, group CEO of GraceKennedy Lim­ited.

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