Jamaicans will have to brace for increases in the price of gasoline, alcohol, and motor vehicle licensing as early as next week.

Finance Minister Audley Shaw today announced an increase in Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on petrol as well as other tax hikes during the opening of the 2017/18 budget in Parliament.

Shaw said that effective Monday, March 13, there will be an increase in the SCT on alcoholic beverages, which will see the rate increase from $1,120 per litre to $1,320 per litre. This, the minister said, will see a profit of $403 million.

The increase in the SCT on fuel ranges from 0.43cents to $7.36 with an annual potential revenue being estimated at $7.459 billion.

This new regime, Shaw said, will be reflected in pump prices as of next week Wednesday. He noted that this was based upon the volatility of oil prices and was “a means to preserve the integrity of the revenue as well as protecting the environment from increased carbon emission”.

Meanwhile the increase motor vehicle licensing, which takes effect on Monday, will see a 20 per cent hike, pulling in an estimated $464 million in revenue.

There will also be an increase in SCT on tobacco and its products. This increase on cigarettes is expected to yield revenue of $826 million.

Also on the new tax list is General Consumption Tax (GCT) in respect to group health insurance, which takes effect on April 3 and is expected to gain $1.88 billion. A re-imposition of withholding tax on general insurance premiums paid by Jamaican residents to non-residents at rate of 15 per cent becomes effective year-end, with an estimated $990 million in expected revenue.


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