Sun | Nov 18, 2018

Chinese retailers pocketing GCT?

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

This is an open letter to Commerce Minister Karl Samuda.

Are Chinese nationals operating as traders and retailers exempt from collecting GCT?

There is no country on this planet that is self-sufficient and doesn't have to dismantle some trade barriers. Possibly clinging on to the goodwill of major Chinese investors, dozens of small-, medium- and large-scale Chinese traders litter every corner of the island.

These traders have brought some benefits to Jamaica. But is there a cost as well?

Are the aforementioned Chinese traders exempt from collecting GCT from the end user? If the answer is in the affirmative, was there an amendment under the GCT Act to accommodate such concessions?

I conducted a price survey on numerous, everyday, taxable grocery items and compared Chinese wholesalers/retailers with their Jamaican counterparts who include GCT, and the price differential led me to suspicions since the costs are basically the same.

No tax receipts are issued at points of purchase. I will not presume that the tax exemption is included in the end price and pocketed.

I am bringing to your attention the possible lack of accountability for tax exemption that may occur.

This is not meant to impugn the honesty of our welcome Chinese investors, but to see whether our own monitoring system is as effective as it should.

Do we have a broken system that might reveal more holes than a sieve, or is this a wake-up call that could reveal a proliferation of wide-scale GCT skulduggery?

Finally, consider the fact that if everyone, in accordance with the GCT Act, pays his share, your Government could safely reduce the onerous 16.5 per cent GCT. Think of the positive impact on the country at large, not to mention the political goodwill to be gained.

Over to you, Minister Samuda.

TONY MILES

Retired Revenue Officer