The leader of the Opposition, John Briceno, announced that the People’s United Party (PUP) does not support the 2018/2019 General Revenue Appropriation Bill. Briceno says that the budget does not contain anything that can stimulate the economy. Two weeks ago when the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dean Barrow, proposed the 2018/2019 budget, he introduced seven tax measures aimed at increasing revenues for the Government. Among those tax measures was the application of the 12.5% General Sales Tax (GST) to the purchase of data services and land preparation for agriculture, harvesting and crop dusting services. The latter has been reversed following a meeting held with stakeholders and concerns raised by cane farmers, the Mennonite communities, and the agro-producers group. Briceno described the budget as a “bogus” budget with no substance and no glitter.
Currently, Belize’s economy is experiencing challenges created by low growth and high levels of public debt. In order to overcome these challenges, the Barrow Administration intends to contain public spending and promote private sector growth in the coming five years. However, PUP Leader John Briceno says that the budget fails the test of fiscal responsibility
Responding to Briceno’s comments was Belmopan Area Representative, John Saldivar, who painted a pretty picture of the economy.
PUP Deputy Leader and Lake Independence Area Representative, Cordel Hyde, says that the Government has done little to create employment and reduce poverty.
Responding to Hyde’s statements was the Deputy Prime Minister and Area Representative for Collet, Patrick Faber.
The budget continues tomorrow.