Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, has announced plans for further tax office upgrades across the island.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the Christiana tax office in Manchester on Thursday (February 23), the minister said over the next decade, “Jamaica is going to be in a position to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to improve public service delivery through infrastructure upgrades.”
The Christiana tax office upgrade is part of a wider plan to improve tax offices across Jamaica. Clarke said that the government has already started with a major renovation of the tax office in Montego Bay and that Mandeville will have its ground-breaking in a few months, with others to follow.
The new tax office is expected to be completed within 18 to 24 months.
The Commissioner General of the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), Ainsley Powell, said that the present space had outgrown its ability to meet the needs of staff and customers.
The new two-storey, reinforced-concrete structure will cover 10,000 square feet, with a guard house, power house, and 80 parking spaces. It will also have a recreational area and a conference room, as well as bathrooms for customers and cubicles for wheelchair users on the ground floor.
Other amenities will include an electronic ticketing system, allowing customers to select a space in line or make appointments, similar to what exists at the Constant Spring and Falmouth offices. There will also be the processing of driver’s licenses as well as motor-vehicle registration. Customers will be able to go online to renew their registration and collect it at an office or have it delivered by the postal service.
The tax office will serve thousands of customers from as far as Albert Town in Trelawny, Manchester North East, parts of St. Ann, and Frankfield in Clarendon. The Minister emphasized that the government’s plan is to upgrade existing facilities to improve the quality of life of Jamaican citizens. “It’s not simply about getting the debt down or the fiscal balance or the primary balance; those are means to an end,” he said. “The end that we seek is to improve and increase the quality of life of the Jamaican citizen.”