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Jul 4, 2019

Crunching the B.T.L. Figures

Opposition Leader John Briceño has written to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, requesting the results of the ongoing audit by the Department of General Sales Tax of B.T.L.’s financials.  Briceño is also asking the P.M. for a copy of a letter purportedly sent by B.T.L. Chair Nestor Vasquez to Financial Secretary Joseph Waight seeking G.S.T. waiver due to unpaid taxes.  Briceño’s letter comes after news broke that B.T.L. potentially owes tens of millions of dollars which it racked up in G.S.T. and business tax.  But both B.T.L. and the G.S.T. say the telecom giant is tax complaint.  On Wednesday, the P.U.P. came out swinging at B.T.L. and the government for the purported underreporting of revenues.  During a press conference, P.U.P.’s Shadow Minister Responsible for Communications and Public Utilities, Kareem Musa, used B.T.L.’s figure for the period 2017/2018 to demonstrate what may be the difference in B.T.L.’s reporting on G.S.T. and business tax.

 

Kareem Musa

Kareem Musa, P.U.P. Shadow Minister Responsible for Communications & Public Utilities

“In the B.T.L.’s annual report it states that sixty one percent of its revenues came from mobile and fixed lines, ten percent from roaming and international settlements, twenty one percent being internet data and eight percent constituting other revenues. If mobile and fixed lines services constitute real-time voice services provided by B.T.L. which we don’t see why it wouldn’t, then according to B.T.L.’s own figures ninety seven million dollars of its total revenues came from voice and is therefore subject to business tax at nineteen percent. The rest of the revenues would be conservatively subject to a tax at not less than one point seven five percent. This ladies and gentlemen would yield a total business tax liability for B.T.L. at roughly nineteen million dollars for the fiscal period 2017 and 2018. Yet B.T.L. reported business tax liability for that year at only twelve point two million. What is the reason for the difference of this six point eight million dollars for the fiscal year 2017-2018?”


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