With the entire country of Belize seething at the recent increase of fuel at the pumps which is now well above the eleven dollar mark, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) today issued a strongly worded release calling on the Government to act immediately to minimize the negative impact of high prices on Belizeans.
According to BCCI, tax applied to this essential commodity is largely responsible for the prices being within pennies of what they were in 2014, at a time when the “landed cost” per gallon of fuel was at least 20% higher.
Comparing today’s prices to those of 2014 the BCCI points out that in September of 2014, fuel entered the country at $6.29. In September 2017 under the higher-cost, short-notice arrangements made due to the “changeable” supply from Venezuela, the Cost insurance and freight value is still roughly $1.20 (or about 20%) less than what it was three years ago when world market prices were about 40% higher.
Comparing today’s landed cost and commercial margin with the highest average rate of taxation used in 2014, BCCI concludes that pump prices would still be between $1.04 and $1.40 less per gallon. Even at the pre-April 2017 lower tax rate, the price per gallon of premium would still be between $10.52 and $10.88 compared to today’s price of $11.92, says the chamber.
As the organization that represents the business sector the chamber is concerned that these higher costs in fuel only serve to further damage the competitiveness of Belize’s private sector, and will ultimately raise the cost of living for the average consumer who will have to pay higher prices on transportation and goods and services.
The chamber further warns the Government that this ad hoc and purely revenue-centered tax measure must be replaced by a comprehensive and well-thought-out tax strategy. The BCCI ends in recommending that GOB must crack down on and collect taxes from those who evade payment to the tune of millions of lost revenue every year before implementing further tax increases and new taxes.