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Mar 16, 2018

Agro-Producers to Meet with G.O.B. over GST Exemptions

The Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group will meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow and other top officials next Wednesday ahead of the Budget Debate. During the presentation on March ninth, the Prime Minister spoke of lifting of exemptions to General Sales Tax on land preparation for agriculture, harvesting, and crop dusting services as part of additional revenue-collecting measures. The Government said it was trying to close a loophole in the tax provisions that it says registered farmers are taking advantage of. But the BAS says new imposition of taxes will further burden an industry where the small farmers rely on the larger producers to help them, and ultimately make Belize’s exports less competitive. Today Doctor Henry Canton expanded on the group’s position in speaking with News Five.

 

Henry Canton

On the Phone: Dr. Henry Canton, Chairman, Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group

“We have recently – I think in the last two or three hours, the Prime Minister has promptly responded to the Belize agro-productive sector and all the people copied in, basically setting up a meeting next Wednesday, in order for us to have clarifications and I guess consult on the way forward with regard to the questions on the new taxation, the taxes that will be imposed on us.  We had an emergency meeting with regard to these issues with most of our members and collaborative associations. And what is happening apparently, is that we are not exactly clear on how these taxes are going to be imposed. Based on interpretation from a number of our members which is a little bit diverse, we believe that whichever way we look at it, there will be a negative impact – not only on the smaller ones but on the bigger ones and that is our big concern. But it is difficult to speak to it definitively without having any clarification on what exactly is being proposed. However, I must say that one of the issues that we are hoping would be cleared up is also to find any arbitrariness that is within the legislation, because I think the arbitrariness or the discretionary aspects of the law allows for so-called loopholes, and we need to try to see if we can define that.”

 

The BAS was first established in 2000 as a Government and public sector collaboration, but transitioned to wholly private by 2004. Its members include both citrus associations, the grain growers association, livestock producers association, banana growers association and poultry association among others.

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