Chamber President expresses concern over upcoming budget

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Updated: January 24, 2017

Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Dean Barrow threatened economic war against Caribbean Investment Holdings Limited and Belize Social Development Limited if the companies attempted to collect the fifty million dollar arbitration award.  The award is to the tune of fifty million US dollars plus interest and all indications are that the Government does not intend to pay up. President of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nikita Usher, expressed concern not only on the Prime Minister’s  statements but also his upcoming budget presentation.

Nikita Usher – President, BCCI

“We are addressing that issue we have a meeting next week after which we will be coming out with our statement but also I think you should be wondering what is going to happen about the next budget presentation and the BCC is more concerned about the budget presentation than that comment that was made. We have a budget that is coming up and it’s important for us to know where our economy will be. We’ve heard other people say that there will be increases in taxes; the BCCI is equally concerned about those as well.

Reporter

“Is the BCCI considering speaking with the government in terms of trying to streamline and reduce spending and also increase collection?

Nikita Usher – President, BCCI

“Well the BCCI, as the president, I’ve appointed a subcommittee of the chamber to actually over the holidays when you all were on the Christmas holidays we were working. We’ve actually been looking at more than just spending its spending, it’s also revenue enhancement in the government but also in economic growth for the private sector. It has to be three pronged ,it can’t be just I want government to cut their expenses it has to be cut expenses, improve their revenue whether it be additional revenue or collections from wherever it is as well as economic growth for the private sector.

Reporter

“What will be the alternative to increasing taxes?

Nikita Usher – President, BCCI

“I would want to hold on that until the BCCI report actually comes out but we can tell you that we’ve done a comprehensive review of where we feel it could be improved and where we honestly and truly feel that there will be limited increase in taxes but yet collect the amount of money that you really need to improve your positions of government.

Reporter

“Would BCCI support the idea or notion to increase visa fees in terms of maybe Asian and Indians?

Nikita Usher – President, BCCI

“I can say to you that we can also look at where cruise tourism is heading, can we improve on that, can we increase on those revenues so all and sundry.”