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Jan 24, 2017

Chamber of Commerce Has Suggestions for G.O.B. on Finance

Nikita Usher

The General Revenue and Appropriations Bill is scheduled to be presented and debated in March. The Opposition and certain corners have made dour predictions that in light of the continuing economic recession, the Government will have no choice but to raise taxes and fire public officers. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and others have gone on record to say otherwise. But the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry is taking no chances. As president Nikita Usher told us today, they have drafted their own strategy to present to the Government in coming consultations with the dual goal of no tax increases and a commitment to efficient spending.

 

Nikita Usher, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“We remain on the position that we are not a body that wants to see increased taxes – we must remember, while there might be a need for increase of tax, we must also not forget that there is also the need to remain competitive. Competitiveness in the international market is dictated by what the consumer wants to pay for your product; and that also lends to what is happening locally – if there are regulations that are increasing taxes easily, we cannot afford to have that. We are more in favour of looking at how do we caulk the leakages of taxes: we feel that there are areas that we can collect taxes, by keeping the taxes the same but caulking the holes, where the leakages are at, and we all know where those holes are at. I think we can have that discussion more.”

 

Reporter

“But generally speaking, in terms of competitiveness we are talking about increasing the rate of recovery for tax collection and other issues that would keep expenditures low and raise revenues high enough that we don’t have to worry about…?”

 

Nikita Usher

“The Chamber is taking a three-prong approach. The Chamber is looking at how do we discuss with Government to reduce their costs of operations; how do we discuss with Government for them to improve their revenue collection and that is about taxes and how we improve that, and how do we grow, or enhance economic growth in the economy.”

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