IN this unprecedented time of the Covid-19 pandemic, workers who pay salary and wages taxes to the government are hardest hit.
Especially those employed in the private sector who have been stood down and put off payroll and are struggling to meet family expenses during the state of emergency.
The big question is what is in the Government’s economic stimulus package?
There seems to be no clear directives in this regard.
Employers must make money from their operations to pay staff and to keep business going during this difficult time.
But they will come to a point where job losses will need to occur.
The stark reality in this unprecedented times is that job losses are eminent as businesses struggle to survive during this time.
Almost 10,000 jobs have gone as reported in the media.
The Department of Labour and Industrial Relations seems to have lost foresight in providing technical advice to the Government and the SOE controller in making relevant orders to guide and assist employers mitigate and minimise these job losses.
Continuous calls have been made by various trade unions to the Government to keep workers in jobs.
But they have not offered advice/solutions or suitable employment models to assist employers mitigate and minimise job losses and enable business operations to survive in this difficult time.
Urging employers to keep their employees at work, using temporary relief employee accrued entitlements with no real relief to employers and workers under the Government economic stimulus package is seen as a far off appeal and unrealistic.
Some government regulatory authorities such as the Investment Promotion Authority have made procedural policy announcements on exemptions to compliance requirement.
However authorities such as Internal Revenue Commission (IRC), except for deferral of procedural lodgements, there are no real relief such as in special taxes rates in personal income and company taxes where it really matters.
It provides also an opportune time for IRC to consider broadening the tax base for PNG for more and additional revenue streams.
These are policy advices worth considering by relevant state agencies.
These lessons learnt in our current inability in handling job losses is a wakeup call.