JM | Mar 9, 2023

Tax relief on solar systems and animal importation

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Minister of Finance Dr Nigel Clarke says householders installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems will benefit from an income tax credit equivalent to 30 per cent of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $4 million.

This will result from the provision of an Income Tax Credit, totalling $100 million, on the installation of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, and the removal of General Consumption Tax (GCT) on the importation of live horses, small ruminants and pigs, amounting to $53.33 million.

The Government is providing tax relief totalling approximately $153.33 million during fiscal year 2023/24.

Clarke, outlined the details while opening the 2023/24 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday (March 7).

“That fiscal measure will be implemented by way of an amendment to the Income Tax Act,” the minister informed Parliament.

Dr Nigel Clarke, minister of finance and the public service, making his opening contribution to the 2023-2024 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives.

He pointed out that incentivising solar PV systems is consistent with the removal of GCT from renewable solar energy inputs, among these, PV batteries and panels, and inverters, noting that “just last year, we added lithium-ion batteries.”

Clarke, who advised that Jamaica’s energy commodity imports were just under US$2 billion in 2021/22, maintained that “for the size of our economy, this is an extremely unhealthy dependence that makes our economy vulnerable.”

Noting that Jamaica has experienced price shocks “several times in our history”, he maintained that “we must use that experience to our advantage.”

Importation of horses

Meanwhile, the minister said measures relating to the importation of animals are aimed at ensuring food security and rejuvenating the horse racing industry by having high-quality thoroughbred stock, in support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Clarke noted that food security was a “big issue”, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, pointing out that Jamaica currently produces 10 per cent of its consumption needs for goat meat, pork, and mutton.

Against this background, he said the agriculture ministry has embarked on a programme to reduce food importation, adding that “we [the finance ministry] want to support them and to increase income for rural dependent farms, to reduce the importation of animal feeds and protein sources dependent on animal feeds.”

Clarke indicated that small ruminants, such as goats, can be fed with locally produced materials, noting that “when global shortages take place, we would still have protein sources, and we would not depend on the importation of corn feed or other raw material.”

He said it is anticipated that the agriculture ministry will import over 6,000 goats, sheep and pigs over the next three to five years.

Goat (Image: Nutramix)

These, the minister added, will be utilised for breeding to boost local supplies, while emphasising that they “will not be slaughtered for the consumer market.”

“The Ministry of Agriculture will import and distribute the animals in breeding clusters, and private farmers will qualify to import their own. The initiative is to start in 2023 for five years, in the initial period,” Clarke said.

Meanwhile, Clarke said the Government wants to incentivise the importation of mares and fillies for two main reasons.

“One… they would assist the [horse racing] industry… [for which] the numbers are dwindling now and making that sport… which is a big part of domestic economic activity in certain parts of Jamaica… unattractive,” he outlined.

Minister of agriculture and fisheries, Pearnel Charles Jr (Photo: Facebook @pcharlesjr)

Additionally, he said, “we would have better quality horses coming into the island, it would be more competitive and would help the industry, in terms of excitement [and] when their racing career is over, they’d also improve the quality of the breeding stock.”

The minister pointed out that while the broodmare stock has been increasing since 2010, just over 40 per cent were barren or not bred.

He further said that every additional 100 horses in the industry create an immediate multiplier effect on direct employment of grooms, trainers, exercise riders, jockey agents and agricultural workers.

Clarke said this also serves to increase race days and, by extension, revenues from those events.

“So, you have something that ought to be a revenue measure, but it is such a disincentive that nothing is coming and at the same time, a subsector is declining. Remove it, allow economic agents to pursue their interests and what we have is the potential for more jobs and more economic activity,” he maintained.

– Jamaica Information Service


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