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Feb 22, 2019

But much remains to be done…

Nikita Usher

While the Prime Minister boasted a positive G.D.P. growth in 2018, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that much more needs to be done in terms of taxes. According to P.M. Barrow, the government is ‘making progress towards improving administrative efficiencies through the amalgamation of the G.S.T. and Income Tax Departments.’ Progress is also being made through the procurement and installation of a modern Integrated Tax Administration Management Information System. But B.C.C.I. President Nikita Usher that much remains to be done.


Nikita Usher, President, B.C.C.I.

“We have yet to level the playing field where taxes are concerned.  In fact, while the private sector has universally cried for some relief with competitiveness as a priority…well, except for those who have taken the relief on their own…we have not moved sufficiently forward to make a noticeable change. I hear Mr. Longworth saying that we are going to be there. I await your visit for us to discuss that. While we commend the government for commencing the urgently necessary project to amalgamate the tax departments, much more needs to be done to move Belize forward in a sustainable way. With regard to legislation to reduce the duties on packaging for the benefit of small and medium enterprises in the productive sector, we have instead opted for a version, no offence Minister Tracey, that will most likely introduce sufficient bureaucracy to the process, and quite possibly deny access to the very part of the economy that it was design to try and assist. With regard to trade license reform, intended to allow businesses some level of predictability in their budgeting, we are inexplicably faced with continuing delays in its implementation.  Trade taxes have not yet come down, and the productive sector in particular, looks forward to the day when the GST department is just as efficient to collect their refunds than to do the audit. Very few businesses can move steadily toward successful growth without access to affordable finance.  We have the imposition of international anti-corruption measures to thank for much of it, but some of it is due to our own lack of innovation and diversity in financing methods.  In this respect, we look forward to the day when cheque-clearing happens in less than 24 hours, Senator, when the credit bureau legislation allows us to access financing more easily or at a better rate because of a  very good credit rating.  We are eager for the day when payment platform legislation is passed that allows us, as much for personal safety reasons, to carry out our transactions by electronic means without dependence on cash.”


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