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May 6, 2021

PM Briceño: “Public Officers Responsible for Tax Collection”

John Briceño

PM Briceño also spoke about the outstanding taxes owed to the government and why collecting those taxes is not a simple solution to the economic crisis. He noted that the responsibility to collect taxes also lies with public servants.

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“Generally Belizeans understand. I think even the Union members understand. But we just need to continue the dialogue with them, and we hope that probably more sooner than later we will get them to understand that all of us have to do our bit in this crisis we are going through. And, we believe that by year three the economy will be in a much better position where we can just start to give increments and do the actual investments in plan Belize. We said that we are going to grow the economy, we are going to create jobs, we want to expand schools and water and the national health insurance. These are things that are critical to any thriving community, country. And we mean it when we said we want everybody to win.”

 

Reporter

“The unions along with public have been calling for the cut on minister’s allowance. And on top of that they are saying go to the people who owe taxes, who may have been forgiven because they are politically appointed or have political friends.”

 

Prime Minister John Briceño

“There are two questions that you mentioned, one is about ministers’ allowances. As it is we have already taken a fifteen percent cut. We have already cut our allowances by fifteen percent. What they don’t want to fully accept at this time is that those allowances, we use that money to help people in our constituencies. I found it ridiculous when some people in the Unions who say that we should not get a vehicle allowance. I am using my personal vehicle, and if they are saying that they want to cut that, that is being malicious. They are not being reasonable. As to the collecting of taxes, what is the irony of this, when the Union members talks about government not collecting taxes, they are the ones responsible for collecting taxes, it is not the ministers. And I will challenges any public officer right now to say that I have called as the Minister of Finance to say don’t charge taxes to anybody. We need to collect taxes. To try to collect taxes it will take a process.  Some of these people that have not paid, some of them don’t want to pay, some don’t care, and some just don’t have the money. The point is that it will take time to collect the money, and we just don’t have time right now. Every month we have to right checks and make direct deposits to pay salaries. Every month our overdraft goes up and we continue to borrow more from central bank. So we simply don’t have time. Belize has ran out of time.”


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