Jamaicans angry at new ATM tax

(Jamaica Observer) Jamaicans on Saturday reacted with anger to last Thursday’s announcement in Parliament by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr Peter Phillips that new taxes will be slapped on Automated Teller Machine (ATM) withdrawals, as well as on all electronic banking transactions.

That anger will likely boil over later this week after more details emerge on the new taxes.

Phillips, in opening the 2014-2015 Budget Debate, announced the new levy on the use of ATMs, also called Automated Banking Machines (ABM).

The move is due to take effect June 1 and seeks to raise a portion of the overall $6.6 billion in additional taxes from a population that financial analysts have said is already over-taxed. Some citizens interviewed by the Jamaica Observer yesterday said that they have had enough and were not prepared to accept the Latest tax.

Paul White, 46, a higgler in the Constant Spring Arcade, described the tax as “robbery” by the Government.

“Government a tief! That is highway robbery!” an irate White blurted out to the Sunday Observer.

“Mi can’t put down my money in the bank and they expect me to pay to take out my own money. That’s highway robbery. I’m very, very upset, very, very upset. Right now I don’t even know which one of these government is the better one. Every one of them is the same thing,” he fumed.White said that if there was no change to the decision taken by the Government, he will have no choice but to limit or cease his dependence on the bank.

The anger of Karlene Spencer, 40, was palpable.

“Let me tell you something, you see right now, the PNP (People’s National Party) Administration is actually giving this country more than what we can bear. Honest to God, that can’t be right, that is straight robbery! When you look at what is happening — things already too expensive and you tell me that if I have $1,000 in the bank and I go to the machine that I am going to be taxed? So what poor people ought to do?” she asked.

“The rich man can just write a cheque. Anyway you take it the pressure is on the poor in this country and only the fittest of the fittest shall survive when PNP done with us. I just come back from London and it tough there too yes, but I could use a pound and do many things. And anywhere you see a machine it say free cash withdrawal. It doesn’t matter which bank you have. It’s a total disgrace to humanity in this country. Who are these people? They are some monsters from hell or what?” Spencer said.

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