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Feb 24, 2017

Chamber of Commerce Sore over Superbond

The unpaid national debt that looms over Belize’s fragile economy continues to be a matter of concern in various sectors, including the business community.  On Thursday, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry sent out a release addressing a number of issues pertaining to the upcoming fiscal budget, as well as the present economic situation, in light of the outstanding balance.  While the BCCI has offered recommendations for economic recovery, the Super Bond remains a sore point within the private sector.  News Five spoke with Chamber President Nikita Usher.

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher, President, BCCI

“The Chamber of Commerce saw it fit to make the release in anticipation of the reading of the budget; it is a continuation from our consultation that we have had with the government. And so we felt that it was necessary for us to put on record for the general public to know where the Chamber’s position has been. And that is to make sure that as best as possible government is willing to listen to some of the concerns or issues that we had raised during the consultation process and hence the reason for the press release.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Are there specific concerns from the business community ahead of the presentation of the 2017 Budget?”

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher

“Well the business community has always lobbied to ensure that there is no additional taxes that will come on the shoulders of our citizenry. Certainly, we feel that there are ways to mitigate that without having to bring taxes on our citizenry. During our consultation, we certainly looked at a three-prong type of approach where we thought that first and foremost before even consider looking at taxes or increasing taxes, we must first put our house in order and that is to reduce the operational cost of government. When you have a budget that is showing excess expenditure above its revenue, then it is time for us to look at those expenditures and decide which has to be cut. Similarly on a second prong approach, we also looked at how then, if that is not sufficient, where else on the revenue side, can we increase revenues. And we feel that there can be some increase of revenues without even increasing the taxation; one of which is to try and look at the leakages, the administration of taxation where in our opinion, it is not capturing the entire business community. And the third approach of course is that in doing all of that, there cannot be or there must be a stimulation of economic growth so that the business community, the environment has to be fostering so that the business community can make that growth for itself and in the end, the government reaps from that.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Can you share with us, if any, the Chambers’ position on the issue of the super bond and the fact that the twenty-six million dollar payment, which was due on Monday, hasn’t been defrayed as yet?”

 

On the Phone: Nikita Usher

“Well I think the super bond is only one issue. You must bear in mind that there are much more debt obligations owed by the government. And while in this case, it is the super bond that we have probably defaulted so to speak—although we have a grace period—there are other obligations that we must also look at. And that is why we are thinking that, we are of the opinion that there has to be some serious measures and the will has to be there to want to do that.”

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2 Responses for “Chamber of Commerce Sore over Superbond”

  1. MNHG says:

    “one of which is to try and look at the leakages”
    Well said above, hundreds of so-called Benque taxi drivers taking our dollars to Guatemala , hundreds, that is a GREAT leakage !!! Tip of the iceburg, vendors, shoe shiners , newspaper sellers, mechanics, welders , all without work permit, or with morida permit !!!
    Add all that money they taking away for one year !! Then we say things bad !
    Our corrupt systems selling our country !!!!

  2. carlos says:

    check those people that do not pay import duty. They only declare part of the imported things at the western boarder. Who collects money under the table. All this is a waste that do not reach the government’s coffers.

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