There has been no update to the Government’s attempt to get bondholders to buy-into their proposal to renegotiate the payment terms of Belize’s Superbond for a third time. The last we heard on this was that the bondholders had rejected Government’s proposal to reduce the coupon payments up to the year 2036. While a lot of the focus is on the Superbond because a payment is due on February 20th, Belizeans are also concerned about the upcoming budget and the tax increases which Prime Minister Dean Barrow has warned will be coming. The Belize Chamber of Commerce is also monitoring the situation and hopes to be able to present proposals to the Prime Minister prior to the budget presentation. Today, Chamber President Nikita Usher discussed some of these proposals which he says can minimize tax hikes.


Screen_Shot_2017-01-24_at_6.51.33_PMNikita Usher - President, Chamber of Commerce


“We have a budget that is coming up and it is important for us to know where will our economy be, we’ve heard people saying there will be increases in taxes, the BCCI is equally concern about those as well.”


Reporter


“Is he BCCI considering speaking with the government in terms of trying to stream line public spending to reduce spending and also increase collections?”


Nikita Usher - President, Chamber of Commerce


“Well, as the President, I have appointed a subcommittee of the Chamber to actually when you were all in Christmas holidays we were working, we’ve actually been looking at more than just spending its spending and it’s also revenue enhancement in the government but also economic growth in the private sector, it has to be three ways I can’t just I want government to cut their expenses, it has to be cut their expenses, improve their revenue whether it be additional revenue or additional collection from where it is and as well as economic growth for the private sector .”

 

Reporter


“What would be the alternative to increase in taxes?”


Nikita Usher - President, Chamber of Commerce


“I would want to hold on that until the BCCI report actually comes out but we can tell you that we have done a comprehensive review of where we feel it could be improvement and where we honestly and truly feel that they can’t be very limited increase in taxes when yet collect the amount of money that you really need to improve your position of government.”


Reporter


“Would BCCI support the idea or the notion to increase VISA fees in terms of where Asians and Indians…”

 

Nikita Usher - President, Chamber of Commerce


“All on sundries included, I can say to you also that we can also look at where cruise tourism is heading can we increase on that, can we increase on those revenues so all on sundries, yes.”


The Prime Minister had promised that the formulation of the 2017-2018 budget and proposed tax measures would be one of the most participatory exercises, but we have seen no sign of such.

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