December 18, 2009
LIFE IT IS A LESSON, STILL WE ANSWERS TO FIND
Well by now you must have heard that after this bleak Christmas, the New Year is going to be like a permanent midnight. Recently there was a Black Friday type event uptown and just this week something of a similar nature was launched in downtown. While they have seen success so far, I can bet you come next year retailers are going to be downscaling faster than spit falls to the ground. Estimates from the Bank of Jamaica has so far shown that the amount of money in circulation (which normally increases during the Christmas season) is far lower than last year. No surprise here. Riding on an electoral campaign, this Government which promised jobs jobs and more jobs and no taxes has literally made the proverbial wolf inna sheep clothing seem like a scrawny gal, they mastered pitching better than any best actor or actress Oscar winner.
When we experienced the blowout from these get rich schemes and announcement of a recession in the USA, our same brilliant Finance Minister and Prime Minister proclaimed that we have nothing to worry about since we would not be affected, clearly they were living in a shiny bubble. Amusingly, the Finance Minister recently said that we have lost our appetite for risk. Hmmm, I wonder why. Earl Jarrett from the JN Small Business Loans Limited Board said that Jamaicans are not taking advantage of business options because we are not aware of the opportunity. If that was not the most embarrassing statement to be made by a Mr Jacket and Tie, please tell me of another.
Let’s see what has happened so far:
a. GDP has fallen by 4%
b. GCT will now increase again to 17.5%
c. Over 40,000 persons have lost jobs with more to come
d. Public sector wages will be frozen for 2 years; yet government consultants are getting astronomical fees which are stupidly justified by the parliamentarians
e. The P.M has increased the public sector wage bill from $84 billion to $125 billion, a 50% increase. Don’t mention the fact that they have less consultants but are paying out more.
f. Purchasing Power has been estimated to have fallen by 20 – 25%
g. Remittances declined by 17%, which has seen foreign exchange inflows plummeting by US$300 million
h. Minister Tufton has said that we have lost $24 million since the last 5 months at 3 of our sugar estates due to theft; Aubyn Hill better hurry and sort out the sale of our estates since he is being paid a tidy sum only to apparently be collecting a hefty consultant fee
i. Our Hotels have seen our hotels dropping our rates by 30-65%; apparently it has worked, but obviously that leads to a revenue decline, less gratuity for hotel workers (even that is now being taxed).
j. Taxes are going on Raw Food Stuffs such as fresh fruit and vegetables, ground provision, meat, poultry (chicken anyone), fish, cornmeal, corn beef, pickled mackerel, herring, salt fish, peas and beans, onion and garlic, sardine, mackerel, bread, bullas, biscuit, crackers, sugar, salt patties, oats, oil, syrup, eggs, sanitary napkin, activities for which an admission is charged by any cultural or other organization, servies rendered by an undertaker in relation to burial, creation, including the supply of the coffin
So now you can’t even think of shopping in the markets because they too will be charging GCT there. I think the one that has struck me the most as being backward is the tax on fresh fruit and vegetables. After heavy promotion of the NHF and healthy lifestyles and preventative medicine, the very same things we need to help feed a body in a healthy way is the same thing we will be taxed on. Lu! What is amazing is whether you choose to die or live this administration is going to suck you dry. What is amazing though is they have allowed to remain exempt: payment of dividends and interest and travel tickets for international travel, BRAIN DRAIN AND CAPITAL FLIGHT ANYONE?
The gap between the UPPER CLASS and the MIDDLE AND LOWER CLASS will no doubt expand more than a fluffy girl. Just to party, just to survive will leave us in pain. Previous administrations have contribution to the current situation, no denying that and it will take perseverance to get through this, but what is sure is that we will see our country being sold out to foreigners who have more bargaining power (our dollar is worth nothing), a decline in morale, more crime, more extortion, more diseases (due to the stress)