THE Government has rejected pleas to relieve St Ann-based bauxite company, Noranda, of its levy obligations in light of its declining profits.
Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Peter Phillips told the House of Representatives yesterday that the Government would not compromise the 40-year-old levy to save Noranda from decline.
“Were we to accede to Noranda’s demand, the country would be realisng, in nominal terms, the same amount of taxes that we were receiving prior to the introduction of the bauxite levy in 1974. And we would be doing so while allowing the exploitation of a depleting, non-renewable resource,” Phillips said during the debate on the first supplementary estimates 2015/16, which were approved by the House of Representatives last night.
“This would be dishonouring the legacy of Michael Manley, and the generation that struggled for this. Our obligation is not to a particular company, but to the people of Jamaica,” Phillips added, pointing out as well that the Government was confident that, while doing this, it will be able to keep the “employees employed”.