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Feb 9, 2011

P.M. crunches numbers and forecasts the economy

The P.M. also used the occasion to give a report card of how his administration had fared over the past three years. He gave a preview of the upcoming budget for the new fiscal year and while he promised no new taxes, the productive and tourism sectors are not in the best shape and fuel prices are soaring. Still yet, the prime minister is already forecasting a deficit. News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports on a preview of the coming budget.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

The Budget will be announced on Friday March eleventh, however at his annual quarterly conference, the P.M. borrowed a line from former U.S. President G.W. Bush, and said ‘No New Taxes.’

Dean Barrow

Dean Barrow

“We expect that this will be a good budget. Certainly and principally because I repeat what I said a couple of weeks ago, there are going to be no new taxes on the Belizean people for the new fiscal year.”

But while there will be no new taxes, there are various industries whose problems have become endemic, including the cruise tourism, citrus and more recently sugar industry because production machinery have failed.

Dean Barrow

“This is a setback. A meeting with the C.E.O. of B.S.I. this afternoon so that I may have full information on the details of the repairs that have to be done as I understand it either by external technical people coming in or by shipping parts out to Guatemala.  In terms of the cruise sector, I’m not quite sure where we are except that all the ships are coming still. With respect to the final contractual agreement with Carnival, there seems to be a bout of musical chairs taking place. I keep hearing different names in terms of who’s spearheading the negotiations for the final contractual arrangements.”

The P.M. announced a decrease in revenue collection, and apparently he was not upset because it was due to poverty alleviation programs that affect import duties.

“Revenue collections for import duties for the first nine months of the fiscal year decreased by three point eight percent to ninety-four point four million. The point is being made that the exemptions on certain items as part of this government’s overall pro poor initiatives contributed to that decline in import duties. Well I expect that next fiscal year there will be a further slight decline because we are determined to press on with pro-poor policies.”

The P.M. offered a preliminary number crunch on what we should expect in the coming months.

Dean Barrow

“Total revenue and grant receipts are currently at five hundred and fifty-nine point six million dollars; total expenditures are currently at five hundred and sixty-six point seven million dollars. So that there is an overall deficit, at this point in time, of seven point one million dollars. The good news is that currently there is a recurrent balance of seventy-two point four million and a primary surplus of forty-four point five million dollars. Total revenue so far is five-fifty-four point eight million and that is up by forty-four point five million compared to the similar  period for fiscal year 2009-2010. Where there has been a sharp decline is with respect to the grant receipts; in fact those have gone from seventy-eight point seven to four point eight million dollars.  Of course, all sorts of pressures have come bear on our traditional source for grants. The increases in revenue receipts from the domestic petroleum industry and from GST compensate to some degree for the slump in grants. Business tax and royalties on petroleum total forty-nine point three million dollars that’s twenty-seven point four million higher than the similar period in the fiscal year 2009-2010. In the case of GST, collections rose by twenty-four point eight million to one hundred and forty point nine million. But I have to point out that is still below the target of one hundred and fifty-five million that we had expected to reach at the nine month marker.”

The Statistical Institute of Belize indicated to the P.M. that the G.D.P. growth estimate is expected to be at least two point five percent for 2010. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

We’ll have more on today’s press conference later in the newscast.

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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3 Responses for “P.M. crunches numbers and forecasts the economy”

  1. Justice says:

    All politicians should be forced to declare their assets before and after term and that should be compared agaianst the budget. Hmmmm wonder if the truth was told what would be revealed.

  2. ivan cal says:

    THIS PM no have SHAME! da fool the talk but da no fool the listen, on his x-mas speach to the nation he promised no NEW TAXES and he LIEDDD AGAIN! in Januery 15th a new TAX THEY CALL IT [ riders fee so it no sounds bad} was implemented for domestic flights all across Belize from the local airlines,so from 2 yrs old have to pay the new TAX to fly within Belize and regional flights also,so u can imagine tourists coming to Belize having to pay more taxes and its already too high and continues to go up and definately I no believe any more in this PM words’ he is a big LIAD -so how will the tourism industry survive? Belizeans no longer have confidence and trust in this ARROGANT UDP GOVERNMENT” WE THE ONES OUT HERE ARE FEELING THE PINCH,THEY ARE COLLECTIN MILLIONS IN SALARIES THAT WE TAX PAYER PAY AND THEY JUST LIVE IN LUXURY WHILE WE HAVE FI PAY THE HIGH PRICE.”

  3. Chance says:

    Well, the new airline taxes is for the last fiscal year and not the new fiscal year. The fiscal year doesn’t run from January to December but from April to March. So in retrospect, he didn’t lie but it is a recent tax I agree and which must be condemn.

    I believe the government should eliminate taxes altogether on the income for businesses and for individuals. This is fair and in turn would stimulate the economy and even further attract foreign investments which are needed for an economy as small as Belize. It is unfair for one sector to be paying more taxes than the other without any benefits for tax dollars remitted. The rebound effect would be tremendous in the inflow of funds to the country and the matter that businesses and individuals will have more money to spend. More ants building a nest, means more production and chances for faster success. It is not about acquiring more taxes but a matter of maintaining and streamlining the process of uplifting the country out of it’s debt which will only result in the recovery of the economy within a sooner timeline.

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