(Information Extracted from the Gleaner dated 21.11.13)
THE ENTERTAINMENT sector is to benefit from major tax incentives under an omnibus tax incentives regime passed by the House of Representatives.
"If you import recording equipment, which is both a consumer good for Ken, but for a musician is an input into their business, they would be zero rated tariff rates as against Ken who would have to pay the appropriate consumer duty for enjoying his listening pleasure," Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips said in Parliament on Tuesday.
The introduction of the new tariff regime takes effect on January 1, 2014.
"We recognise, particularly as it relates to the entertainment industry, that it is a vital part of Jamaica's future economy and needs to be recorded as such," the minister said.
He added that Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has been insistent that the entertainment industry be given such an incentive.
The promulgation of the omnibus tax incentives regime is a requirement under the four-year Extended Fund Facility with the International Monetary Fund.
The new regime, which must be passed by both houses of Parliament by year end, based on the dictates of the IMF agreement, will eliminate ministerial discretionary powers to grant or validate any tax relief and put in place a transparent regime for limited tax incentives.
Phillips said the new tariff regime seeks to minimise the tax-related impact of productive inputs across all sectors.
"A lot of inputs would be regarded as non-consumer goods and will generally be zero-rated for customs duty purposes. These include machinery, tools of trade and raw materials," the minister told the Parliament.
"It will have a particular importance because it will help us attain one of the long-term objectives, which is to have an economic structure which includes all elements of the society and is not perceived as just being for the benefit of others," Phillips said.
The minister stressed that the new incentives regime will boost industries such as manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, and health care.
"And the creative industries for the first time at last, all these equipment, even though they may represent consumer goods, if they are for use in the provision of a good or service in any of these sectors, they come in at zero cost," the minister said.
"What we are seeking to do, essentially, is to free up the producer and let them produce and get the state out of the way of the producer," Phillips said.