200,000 more J'cans to pay higher light bills
Some 200,000 or 600 per cent more residential customers of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) will face higher light bills following Finance Minister Audley Shaw’s announcement that GCT will be applied to consumption of electricity above 150 kWh per month.
Shaw said in Parliament yesterday that 61 per cent of JPS’ residential customers will not pay the tax that is charged at $16.5 per cent.
When the tax was reimplemented in 2015, it applied to the residential consumption of electricity more than 350 kWh of energy in a month.
Under that policy, only six per cent or 30,000 of the JPS customer base was affected.
“I would recommend to those above the 150 KWh to be more conservative in our use of electricity,” Shaw said.
He said that the poorest Jamaicans will not be affected by the new light bill tax.
The JPS has a customer base of more than 600,000. At the time when GCT was being charged on consumption of 350 kWh, some 30,000 persons were affected by the tax on electricity.
“Right now, them can tax anything. Me still affi eat and mi still affi work. So that no affect me,” said Bobet Parchment, a bartender.
Norman Maraj, a vendor in downtown Kingston, said people will just have to accept the taxes.
“When dem talk bout electricity, all yu affi do a conserve,” he said.
Motor vehicle licence
The Government in seeking to fill its election promise, gave a tax reprieve to persons who pay income tax.
Under the $1.5-million tax plan, 397,083 of the 469,131 on the tax roll will be free from paying income tax as of April 1.
But in honouring its promise, the Government will be imposing $17 billion in taxes on Jamaicans, $13.5 billion from sources such as tax on tobacco, alcohol, gas, motor vehicle licences, and electricity.
Another $4 billion is targeted from property tax collection.
Shaw said that new measures will see the gas tax take increasing by up to $7.36 cents.
“Mi no agree with the tax pon motor vehicle licence cause dem already a pressure taxi man,” said Conroy Wilson, a taxi man who plies the downtown to Windward Road route.
“Dem fi tax cigarette and alcohol cause people fi stop smoke and drink. All $100 dem fi charge fi a stick a cigarette,” he continued.