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Mar 20, 2018

G.S.T. Tax Bites ‘Stupid’

They split not too long ago, but the three sugar cane farmers’ associations are uniting in common cause against the announcement of exemptions to General Sales Tax to be implemented against agricultural services such as land preparation, harvesting and crop dusting. The measure is intended to close a loophole favoring certain farmers, but the Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group among others have complained that costs will eventually be passed down to consumers. That is also true in the case of G.S.T. being added to data services. Today, Opposition Leader John Briceño sided with the productive sector.


John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“I met with the leaders of the three cane farmers’ associations. I met this morning with some of the Mennonites, and we’ve met with some of the agro-producers and the Chamber of Commerce. This is a stupid idea that the Prime Minister came [with] where he’s trying to tax the farmers. When it comes to the cane farmers, by taxing harvesting of the cane, it means they’re going to charge G.S.T. to the harvesting by machine, the harvester, and the transportation, the way it is worded. In the north, we are having a shortage of cane cutters, and the ones that are still there, the prices have gone up to cut the cane and to load it – it’s hard work. And because of that, the farmers are almost at the point of losing money. So working with B.S.I., they have a project where they have a harvester that would cut and load your cane, and that has been reducing the cost by approximately seven dollars a ton. But once you start to include the G.S.T. to land preparation and then to cut it and to load it and to transport it, they believe that the little monies they have been saving with that is going to disappear under the G.S.T. that the Prime Minister has presented. Everybody uses data, internet. Ten years ago, probably only a small group of the society was using data; a few businesses were using access to the internet but now everybody uses data. From the richest of Belizeans to the poorest of Belizeans; from the biggest company to the smallest company or business in Belize, everybody needs data. And now the Prime Minister is adding another tax on them, which is going to hurt the poor people but especially the middle class that feels that they are the ones that feeding the tax burden in this country.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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