Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned to the country on Saturday following nearly week-long meetings with the Government’s foreign financial and legal advisors over the nation’s economic situation and a proposed re-structuring of the superbond.
We’ll have comments from the Prime Minister and his local economic advisor Mark Espat, but first to some news that will likely have you at the edge of your seats.
The meeting in New York was held urgently as the Government of Belize has indicated that it hopes to complete renegotiations with bondholders before next year’s budget. It appears that Belizeans might also want to be consulted because according to the Prime Minister, you can expect changes in the taxes and considering the state of our economy and projections, we won’t be getting relief or tax cuts. Hear how the PM explains what you can expect early next year.
Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize
“We’ve made no secret about the fact that there will have to be a degree of fiscal consolidation so there is going to be a tax restructuring as well as a Bond restructuring exercise that we need to undertake that we have already started on, the key though and that is why Dr. Barnette was brought in to the Cabinet, the key is that the government will not get ahead of the people, will not get ahead of the commercial sector, will not get ahead of the business sector, so that whatever we do and we won’t do anything before the next budget which is not that far away but whatever we do for March will be as a consequence of the most intense consultation you can imagine doesn’t mean that after we’ve engaged every one that what the government does will have the support of every one but nobody will be able to say we’ve been blindsided and nobody will be able to say I didn’t have an input in so far as the process is concerned I think that given the times that is about the best we can do that is about the best we can hope for.”
There are increasing reports that one of the taxes that will see “restructuring” is the GST which went from 10% to 12.5% in 2009. Those reports are that the tax could go up to 15%. There could also be changes to the list of zero-GST rated commodities to remove items on the list.
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