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Feb 2, 2022

17 Agro-Productive Members Raise Investment Concerns

The seventeen members of the Belize Agro-Productive Sector Group have written to the Prime Minister with a list of concerns about the government’s handling of recent events, out-of-date legislation and tax structures that are affecting investor confidence.  The first issue raised is government’s failure to enforce the law when criminal acts are committed against investors and investments.  This ostensibly refers to the Port of Belize strike, the attacks on sugar cane farms in the west and the blockage at B.S.I. a few weeks ago.  The second is what they term “antiquated” regulations in the agriculture and agro-processing fields that are burdensome and restrict growth in many of Belize’s traditional crops.  They are asking for full or partial de-regulation of the Citrus, Sugar Cane Industry, Banana Industry, Pesticides Control and Grain Acts. Finally, the group is seeking clear and consistent application of the tax laws and incentives.  In particular, they cite the GST refunds past due to the sector which amount to millions of dollars.  They also say many large farms do not qualify for the Designated Processing Area program, although they produce exports that must compete in international markets.  Among the signatories to the letter to the Prime Minister were at least six Mennonite agricultural groups, Fyffes Belize, Belize Sugar Industries, Hummingbird Citrus, Circle R Products and Obregon Coconut Company Limited.  The group says they collectively represent one billion Belize dollars of local and foreign investment, but at the moment, the investment climate right now is slowing down, posing significant risks to the local economy and employment.

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