… supports income tax exemptions removal
… tempers public servants big pay hike expectations
Finance Minister Winston Jordan on Wednesday said he fully supports a “top up” in the already high salaries for President
Finance Minister Winston Jordan
David Granger, Attorney General Basil Williams, Chief Justice (Ag) Yonette Cummings, Chancellor of the Judiciary Carl Singh, among other officials in exchange for the removal of the income tax exemptions that these individuals currently enjoy. The “top up” would allow the President’s “take home” salary to remain the same as it is at present.
Making it clear that this is not the view of the Government, Jordan explained that it creates a rather unfair situation whereby the majority of the population is required to pay income taxes as opposed to a select few who benefit from the immunity.
“My personal view is that no one should be exempted from income tax… Obviously from somebody who is an economist, we would love to see everybody paying their (income) taxes,” he stated.
“My view is not to cut anybody’s emoluments but my view is that they all should have their incomes topped up and then they begin to pay their taxes because I don’t believe it to be a fair position for some to be paying taxes and other to be not paying taxes when we all would benefit from the same provision of social and other goods the Government would provide,” he posited.
The Minister’s recommendation of a “top up” in salaries for certain high-earning officials comes on the heels of the exorbitant pay hike Government awarded shortly after assumption to Executive office.
This move had generated immense public outcry from all sections of society.
Unconfirmed reports from the Ministry of the Presidency suggests that President David Granger currently earns a tax free salary of over $1.8 million per month, after receiving a five per cent salary increase. The Prime Minister enjoys a tax free salary of $1.7 million monthly.
The Attorney General also enjoy a tax free salary of over $1.5 million.
There are also several other high-ranking officials who enjoy tax free salaries and emoluments at the expense of the State.
No big increases for
Meanwhile, Jordan said public servants ought not to get their hopes up high for hefty wage increases. In fact, he indicated that there is not enough money in the treasury to pay Public Sector workers “exaggerated” increases.
“From the time I came in, I’ve been advising and cautioning as it relates to wage increases and meeting exaggerated demands for wage increases, even in good times, paying exaggerated salaries cause, as you all know, serious short and long-term impacts,” he stated.
He stated that the economy is now finally on a slow path to recovery and therefore Government has to be careful on its spending, as recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However, he assured that the salary increase, which will be announced before the end of the year, will be “sustainable”.