Last week Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that his Government will be implementing a series of revised tax measures to raise $88 million dollars in the new fiscal year that commences on April 1st. Taxes will be going up on fuel, on the departure fee for air travel, on environmental tax charged on all imported goods, on electricity bills above $100, and on beer, stout, soft drinks and cement. While GST will not see an increase generally, as feared, the revised tax measures will certainly increase the cost of living for Belizeans. PUP Leader John Briceno remains concerned that the tax increases will push individuals into tougher economic conditions.
Honourable John Briceno - PUP Leader
“A hundred dollars they are only going to pay twelve dollars and fifty cents in many instance some of them are not getting twelve dollars and fifty cents raise a month, but it is beyond the teachers and the BDF and the Police and everybody else it is also based on a shrinking middle class that we have, electricity is no longer a luxury rather it is a necessity in every home and when you reduce that threshold to one hundred dollars I mean you are going to be hurting a lot of people, right now I am trying to get my hands on a number of people that are between one hundred and two hundred so that you can have the right amount of numbers but that is my point that am making the government is saying that they are not increasing taxes on the middle class and the poor people but they are doing that with construction, taxes on construction materials they are doing that by raising the environmental tax and they are doing that by increasing or reducing the threshold for electricity consumption from two hundred dollars to one hundred dollars.”
The Opposition will be poking holes at the Prime Minister’s budget during the 2-day debate set for Thursday and Friday this week.