PM repeats no new taxes promise

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Prime Minster Andrew Holness has repeated the Government’s commitment to hold off on introducing new taxes for as long as possible in order to provide the stability needed by the business sector. He touted the approach during a gathering of hundreds of potential local and regional investors who turned out, Wednesday, for the first day of a global digital services summit being held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“We have had no new taxes levied on Jamaica’s businesses or households since this Administration. And that has given a very calm and stable and predictable runway and confidence for businesses to plan and execute. And that is a commitment that we intend to keep as long as possible to ensure business confidence and to support the development of long-term planning for business. And if for that reason only, you should invest in Jamaica,” Holness stated.

“There was a time in Jamaica where whenever our budget was being read, businesses and households would be in great trepidation, [wondering] what could be the tax environment as a result? So for the last eight years Jamaicans have forgotten about new taxes,” he told the conference room full of potential investors.

As noted by the Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) top Caribbean executive Tariq Alli, there have been more than 900 matchmaking meetings scheduled at the Outsource to Latin America and the Caribbean Global Digital Services Summit (O2LAC) so far. There are more than 600 attendees from 32 countries at the two-day event. This is its ninth staging and Jamaica is the first English-speaking nation from the Latin America and Caribbean bloc to host the event.

“This is not by coincidence…because the region is projected to grow by more than nine per cent, compared to one per cent in Latin America. But it also boasts strong performance in business process outsourcing (BPO), 100,000 workers and US$1.3 billion in investment in the last 15 years,” said the IDB’s Alli.

O2LAC was created by the IDB’s Integration and Trade Sector with the goal of unleashing the region’s full potential in the global digital services sector. Summit participants include entrepreneurs, business leaders and executives from multinational corporations, global start-ups and trade promotion organisations. In addition to matchmaking sessions, business leaders will learn about breakthroughs in emerging technologies such as AI; discover advanced capabilities in strategic BPO; knowledge process outsourcing (KPO); and information technology outsourcing (ITO).