Ministry waives $7.5M in duties

| 30/06/2020 | 20 Comments
Finance Minister Roy McTaggart presents his ministry’s annual report

(CNS): The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gave away some $7.5 million in stamp and import duties during 2019, Finance Minister Roy McTaggart told the Legislative Assembly Monday as he presented the ministry’s 2019 annual report. The minister said staff had processed 831 requests for waivers, though he did not say how many had been successful, leading to the public cash giveaway.

The issue of duty waivers remains controversial, as the decisions tend to be made behind closed doors and freedom of information requests for the waivers are futile because so much information is redacted. These waivers range from good causes through to wealthy developers and are in addition to the continued across the board duty waivers on building material and those negotiated in separate government deals.

The $7.5 million waiver for last year came against the backdrop of the ministry incurring a significant deficit in collections, largely because the customs department was moved from this ministry to the premier’s ever-growing portfolio of responsibility under the new Customs and Border Control agency.

As a result the ministry collected only $45.9 million in executive revenue, which was $137.2 million below budget. However, the budget had been forecast before it was confirmed that customs revenue would be moved at the start of 2019.

The ministry also ran over its expenses budget by $2 million, which McTaggart said was due to the higher than budgeted number of seafarers and veterans receiving health insurance, the increase in contribution rates for the defined benefit pension plan and extra funding for CINICO to maintain the capital requirements under CIMA’s insurance regulations.

Nevertheless, McTaggart was pleased with the ministry’s performance as it was able to generate on overall operating surplus of CI$300,000, which will be paid back to Cabinet this year.

One of the first financial reports to make its way to the Legislative Assembly for 2019 in line with the Public Management and Finance Law, it also received an unqualified opinion from the Office of the Auditor General.

The report shows that the ministry employs 163 people, 87% of whom are Caymanian and 67% are women. The majority of employees are over the age of 41.

Watch the finance minister’s presentation to the LA on CIGTV below:

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Indigent you need to read the whole sentence which refers to an increase in the number of seamen/veterans receiving health insurance. It looks more like an increase in covérage rather than in numbers being covered.

  2. The Fecund Gardner says:

    No one sees the big picture in Cayman. Cayman News Service – would it be possible to publish a simple breakdown of government income by source category (tourism, finance, construction, etc.) and expenditure? That would be accountability. There’s so much comment and partisanship on here, without data and knowledge.

    By comparison politicians where I now live regularly resign when scandal, such as undeclared personal gain surfaces.

  3. Fair and Balanced says:

    This is another example of using a dramatic and unfair opening sentence to poison the minds of readers.

    One of the major components of the “gave away” amount, as CNS describes it, was stamp duty concessions to Caymanians when they acquire property for the first time.

    Is this bad, CNS?

  4. Anonymous says:

    This tells just one side of the story. Duty concessions are given according to the benefits to the economy that the building will bring. It’s not a freeby or a bribe.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s the theory at least. But if the government wont tell you who got them, and why, how can you tell the difference?

      • Anonymous says:

        If you can’t trust your government then you’re screwed more now than when the UK takes over.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course it’s a freebie. The developer is making money. If they didn’t they would not build the development. The fact they won’t disclose the pertinent details is a red light that they don’t want oversight.

    • Anonymous says:

      There is an acute shortage of management accounting to measure success or failure, simply because the terms of the deals, and running carried-forward balance, are not kept, or published. Asymmetric secret duty business waivers are a classic feature of corrupt governments the world over. So knowing this, it is both a freebie and a bribe. For further clarification and differentiation: this is only foregone public revenue, not Cabinet revenue.

    • Anonymous says:

      Private sector strikes again

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry. I should have said”benefits” to the Tribal leaders in what you call the Government. And what you call Freebies or bribes they call earning their salaries. My bad.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 8.03am Please stop referring to Caymanian MLAs as’Tribal leaders’ as it is very bigoted and xenophobic.If our people are tribes, what are yours? Herds? Stop with the condescending and disrespectful attitude.

  5. Truth verses Money says:

    This is just another example of how the fact that there is no requirement to publish the membership names of persons within these special groups, clubs and society’s is causing so many issues.

    It stands to reason that YET AGAIN there is an issue where persons of one of these groups, club or societies have benefitted from other members being in a position to assist their fellow brethren.

    If this was not an issue then there would be no problem with making the names of the members of these entities public as well as the names of the entities who recieved these waivers.

    That way a side by side comparison can be done.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Truth perishes in darkness.

  7. Indigent says:

    Exactly how has the number of seafarers and veterans increased?, they are all getting older so surely numbers should be decreasing.

    • Anonymous says:

      they are marring young phillipinos get a wife and a maid. Dem seamen smart.

      • Anonymous says:

        And they have children with the young phillipino and adopt her children who are all covered as his dependants

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, this is the reason. We Caymanians are really stupid. Any comment, Denniston Tibbetts, on this constantly increasing seamen and veterans’ expenses when they should be gradually dying off and Cayman’s finances are increasingly under pressure?

    • Anonymous says:

      Indigent you need to read the whole sentence which refers to an increase in the number of seamen/veterans receiving health insurance. It looks more like an increase in covérage rather than in numbers being covered.

    • Anonymous says:

      By letting on men that’s not seamen or veterans, they to to screen the them better an not.let new ones, for it’s not anymore seamen now in Cayman Islands, and the rules says they had to have in 3 full years or more of sea faring career, by the cut off year of December 1984. Also those that getting the benefits that’s don’t qualify should be taking off the list, period.

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