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Mar 21, 2018

G.O.B. Pulls Back on G.S.T. Agriculture Exemptions after Meeting

Ahead of Thursday’s Budget Debate in Belmopan, the government has put aside, for now, one of its revenue-collecting measures targeted to affect the agriculture industry. During his budget presentation on March ninth, Prime Minister Dean Barrow proposed to attach General Sales Tax at twelve and a half percent to agricultural services such as land preparation, crop dusting and harvesting. Opponents such as the Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group and Belize Chamber of Commerce immediately raised protest and today, during a meeting in the city, the government yielded. A press statement states that while Government felt it was necessary to quiet down the abuse it alleges took place with claims for G.S.T. refunds from the sector, the overall result would have been negative. Ahead of the meeting, BAS Chairman Dr. Henry Canton detailed the group’s concerns while Opposition representative Jose Mai described how the sector works and why consumers would have eventually taken the licking.

 

Henry Canton

Henry Canton, Chairman, Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group [File: March 16th, 2018]

“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.”

 

Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Area Rep., Orange Walk South [File: March 15th, 2018]

“There are no small farmers who do crop-dusting. There’s no small farmer who owns an airplane; there’s no small farmer who owns a combine harvester. There are people that have heavy investment in these equipment – airplane dusters and in harvesters. And what they do, they go out and they take on contract jobs, so they will harvest thirty acres for this farmer, twenty acres for that farmer, for our small farmers. So they are now passing on that G.S.T. bill to that small farmer. And that farmer, then automatically the price of his corn being harvested is up by twelve and a half percent, so he will pass that on to the consumer. So at the end of the day, the consumer is going to pay, the price of food is going to go up.”

 

BAS Group and the Chamber have agreed to work with the G.S.T. Department, represented by its Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, and their memberships to find ways of dealing with the alleged abuse and excessive claims from the sector.

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1 Response for “G.O.B. Pulls Back on G.S.T. Agriculture Exemptions after Meeting”

  1. asdkjer says:

    WELL…. BEFORE I WENT TO VOTE (@#$% ME) THEY TOLD ME “THE BEST IS YET TO COME” , #$%^&N ME THAT I TOOK THE BAIT AND VOTED FOR THESE SUCKERS !!!
    LET`S SEE HOW MUCH MONEY THEY WILL HAVE FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS !!!!
    LET`S SEE WHAT THEY WILL TELL ME BEFORE I GO TO VOTE FOR THEM. I KEEP WONDERING WHAT THEY HAVE INVENTED IN THEIR MIND TO GET MY VOTE !
    I WILL TAKE MORE THAN A HAM, AND THEIR WORDING OF THE BEST IS YET TO COME WILL HAVE TO BE CHANGED IN A WAY THAT I WILL TAKE BAIT AGAIN !!! I JUST WAITING TO SEE HOW MUCH OF AN %^&*( I AM !!!! CAN`T WAIT FOR GENERAL ELECTIONS !!!!

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