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Mar 27, 2018

Cable Operators Ask For Data Tax Ease, But Is It Too Late?

Local cable and internet service providers are in a pickle tonight, as they collectively face several issues that will affect what subscribers pay for internet.  Government is proposing a twelve and a half percent increase for data which will affect just about everyone across the board except for internet in certain schools.  The start of a new fiscal year is less than one week away and the Belize Cable Television Operators Association is asking government to reconsider the application of General Sales Tax on internet.  That increase is set to take effect on April first.  The move follows a similar position taken by the Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group on March fifteenth, when it asked the Barrow Administration to stave off the implementation of GST on certain agricultural services.  The major difference, however, is that the clock is ticking on the seemingly last-minute request.  In a letter to the prime minister dated March twenty-second, the cable and internet providers association requested a reevaluation of government’s intended effort to collect revenue through this means.  It cites that the additional measure stands to affect the most underprivileged in our society, as well as the most remote residents and businesses in the country.  Likewise, the added expense will negatively impact business development by hiking up the cost of communication, online banking and education, to name a few.  Furthermore, the industry has made significant progress in driving down the cost of internet to subscribers countrywide, only for government to hike up costs by adding GST.

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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