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Feb 24, 2005

GOB and unions meet on taxes

March first is less than a week away and little has been heard regarding the implementation of new taxes that had been delayed from the first of February. But this week the halls of power in Belmopan have echoed with intense discussions between Government officials and representatives of Belize’s labour movement. On GOB’s side of the table sits Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry Finance, Dr. Carla Barnett, financial advisor Joe Waight and budget director Anita Eck. Appearing on behalf of the Trade Union Congress of Belize are Zenaida Moya, Jeffrey Perriott and Victor Rencinos. Meetings continued today with sources indicating that, quote, “nothing is agreed on until everything is agreed on”. As for the implementation of the increased taxes still slated for Tuesday, we are told that while the pressure is definitely on, the working group is also intent on making sure that any agreement reached is, quote, “reasonable”. The meetings are expected to continue for the rest of the week, with the platform of discussion being the ten point agreement signed between GOB and the NTUCB that addresses taxes, salary increases and reforms. One key issue of focus on the revenue generation side is the so called sin-taxes, on beer, cigarettes, liquor and gambling.

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