As mentioned, its Article Four Consultation Report on Belize’s economy some weeks ago, the IMF suggest that in the face of an economic crisis Belize should implement fewer GST exemptions on basic foodstuffs, cutbacks in the public service, and increasing the eligible age for government pension. During Friday’s interview with the media, PUP Leader, Hon. John Briceno weighed in on the matter attributing our economic crisis to be the result of the UDP's excessive and unsustainable borrowing and spending and called the suggestions made recently by the IMF as “strong medicine” for a weakened economy:
Honorable John Briceno – Party Leader People’s United Party
“The issue of the economy, we know that we are going into a deep recession, we know that businesses are in the worst state ever whilst the banks are flushed with cash, we know that businesses has been slowing down where all of our major industries from sugar, bananas, shrimps and citrus all are under severe pressure so people are not having enough jobs, the government is running out of money, last month they had to go on the overdraft to be able to make their salaries, to be able to make payroll because they have run out of money and they have the income tax department and GST and business tax department just going through every business that they can just to squeeze out as much money as they possible can, now we know that the IMF when they were here they recommended that they had to increase the GST from 12.5% to 15%, the IMF also recommended that we need to reduce the number of goods that are exempted from paying GST and they have said that for every five government employees that stop working or retired or are fired you should only hire one and that there should be no increments for the next three years, that there must be a wage freeze for the next three years and that if that doesn’t work there would probably have to be retrenchment.”
The PUP leader reiterated his belief that the Belize-Guatemala issue is taking away from other national problems, which the PUP intends to address at a press conference in the near future.
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