Do away with personal income tax

Letters, Normal

The National, Monday 06th August 2012

I WOULD like to congratulate Peter O’Neill for being elected as prime minister and the other 108 MPs who have been declared.
The people have given their support to the PNC Party because of its good policies and they are hoping for a better tomorrow.
The people have given their mandate to the MPs to become the agents of change as they look forward to a dawn of a new era.
Having said this, I would like to draw the prime minister’s attention to a pressing issue that needs an immediate review.
We have been hit by a high personal income tax rates because of the low threshold.
In my utopia, the purpose of personal income tax is to collect wealth from the working class to help others who are less fortunate.
But there is nothing to show in terms of basic services, infrastructure and facilities despite the working class being taxed every fortnight and paying GST everyday.
I cannot understand why countries such as Australia and Britain, for example, who also collect taxes from their people, are able to deliver ser­vices but we are unable to do the same.
It is my belief that because of corruption, we are not getting any ser­vice delivery.
This is a real problem and there is need for a change.
I suggest that since we are not getting back anything from our tax money, do away with personal income tax.
In our society, there is already a concept of sharing the wealth of the working class with others.
Look closely at our society and compare it with that of Australia and Britain.
We strongly embrace the extended family concept and our tribal links are strong.
A worker, for example, earning K500 has to pay K80 as income tax every fortnight.
He also has to feed and help his wantoks, extended families and tribes people apart from his own immediate family.
That is his obligation.
But you hardly find such obligations in Australia and Britain.
As they do not have this “societal obligation”, the personal income tax works well for them.
We have such obligations and coupled with income tax, we are hit twice.
So in a nutshell, our wealth that comes from employment in the form of salary is being shared with others because of societal obligations.
With the prices of goods and ser­vices increasing everyday, the take homepay of an employee is very small, hardly enough to save.
My proposals to O’Neill and the new government are:
l    Raise the personal income tax threshold or lower the income tax rates;
l    Exempt Papua New Guineans from personal income tax; and
l    Reduce or exempt import duty tax for all PNG nationals importing products from overseas. Any goods imported by a PNG citizen should have reduced or import duty exempted to increase local business and competition and to empower PNG business people.
I believe they are achievable.

Peter Solo Kinjap
Port Moresby