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Jul 12, 2018

Opposition Leader Says G.O.B. Can Afford to Reduce Fuel Tax

The price of premium gasoline decreased by eleven cents at midnight on Tuesday; it now sells for eleven dollars and sixty cents per gallon. It is a small reduction for consumers who have been complaining about the high cost of fuel. The Government has explained that the fuel prices in Belize are as a result of world oil prices and elevating geopolitical tensions in Iran and the Middle East. The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry has called on the Government to review its fuel tax strategy, essentially reducing fuel tax in order to lessen the burden on consumers.  The Barrow administration has denied such request, saying that lowering fuel taxes ‘would adversely affect the budget and removing essential funding for ministries, departments, programs, and service’. Leader of the Opposition John Briceño says that the government has run out of ideas on how to address economic issues.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“He likes to blame the high cost of oil in the world market that that is why the price continues to go up. I would like to him and the Belizean people that when we were in government at one time the cost of a barrel of fuel went up as high as a hundred and twenty dollars a barrel and we never raise the prices to the level where it was. We decided to keep it as low as we possibly can because collecting the taxes on fuel is one of the ways that we collect for the Government. The problem with this government is that they are bankrupt of ideas. It is easy for them to tax fuel with forty of fifty percent. Of every dollar that you pay at the pump, between forty and fifty cents goes directly to the Government and it is an easy way to collect money. What the prime minister and his ministers fail to understand is when they do that they are creating bigger problems for the country. The cost of living goes up, transportation goes up, and cost of production goes up. It makes us uncompetitive and one we become uncompetitive then businesses start to either shut down or they start to get smaller. So then less economic activities take place. By less activity, less collection of taxes that we have. So it is a vicious circle with the Government  and they  believe we will tax is more and get more money. At the end of the day they are creating bigger problems for this country.”

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