Opposition Senator, Dr Andre Haughton, says it costs Jamaica half a billion dollars in foreign debt service repayment each time the local currency depreciates.

There’s been concerns about the persistent depreciation in the local currency, concerns the Bank of Jamaica and the Finance Minister have sought to downplay.

But, in his maiden presentation to the State of the Nation Debate in the Upper House today, Senator Haughton says the concerns are valid.

Meanwhile, the Opposition Senator also appeared to dismiss a suggestion from his party leader, Dr Peter Phillips, for an immediate 2% cut in the 16.5% General Consumption Tax, GCT rate.

But, Dr Haughton is questioning whether that would benefit the country.

Dr Andre Haughton, Opposition Senator.