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Mar 14, 2017

Who Will and Will Not be Affected by Statutory Board Demand

Dean Barrow

As we first reported last week, the Government is demanding ten percent of the revenue of statutory bodies to go into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. A Cabinet committee is reviewing the performance of statutory bodies to see where they can improve their performance, with the ultimate plan of regulation by Government through financing. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who introduced a bill regulating development contributions by statutory bodies on Monday, if there are those who cannot afford the contribution, consideration will be made for them. Also exempt are the Social Security Board and Development Finance Corporation, the former having private sector involvement and already a heavy contributor to Government’s coffers. But the Prime Minister reveals that in particular the Belize Tourism Board and Public Utilities Commission will be leaned on for the revenue, though others will be asked to pay their share.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“And I should also report that the very first revenue measure to be adopted in the new financial year will be this: all statutory boards are hereafter required to contribute ten percent of their 2017/18 income to the Consolidated Fund. If the expenses of these quasi-government entities cannot be as vigorously policed as Ministries and Departments will be, then the next best alternative is to reduce their income flows.   S.S.B. isn’t involved; that’s a separate thing, because that has, as you know, a private sector/public sector mix in terms of its Board of Directors, and we don’t treat that as a regular statutory (board); it’s like D.F.C., we see it as kind of almost a development institution, so those are not involved at all. In terms of the B.T.B., we looked at what they had made last year and it was twenty-odd million, we thought a ten percent wouldn’t be too severe a strain. But I will say this: if any of the statutory bodies from whom we are looking to take the ten percent, can show us where they can’t afford it; that they are running their affairs properly – let me limit it for example to the B.T.B. We think that the B.T.B. is running their affairs properly, they come back and say, for marketing we need that ten percent; we’ll give them.”

 

The Prime Minister said that the Commission is in the process of transferring its two million dollar share to Government.

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