While Venezuela, through the Petrocaribe accord, was Belize’s primary source of petroleum products, it was not the only source. The government has been importing a limited amount of fuel from Texas, USA. Last week Monday the Government warned Belizeans that because of Hurricane Harvey which devastated Texas, fuel prices will increase in the coming days. According to the Government, because of Hurricane Harvey the oil refineries in the Houston area have shut down and are not expected to resume normal operations and return to full output for some weeks. Because Belize does import a substantial quantity of refined fuel from Houston suppliers on a regular basis, Belize is having to purchase and truck in overland fuel from El Salvador at higher costs and the effects are expected to be felt at the pumps. Senator representing the Private Sector, Mark Lizarraga spoke on the matter.
Mark Lizarraga – Senator
The one thing about fuel is that it impacts everything because everything we consume is transported on vessels that consume fuel, transportation. So it’s a tragedy that so much in our country, so much revenue is derived from fuel. The last number I saw was almost half of what you pay at the pump goes to the government by way of taxes. At some stage we need to revisit it but more importantly why are these taxes so high? Its because we cannot properly account for the way we spend the people’s money so now we see the government in earnest haste trying to increase the revenue from all sources and unfortunately fuel is the beast of burden that is where they get a big bulk of it. So just remember that almost half of everything you pay at the pumps goes to the government by way of taxes. We need, as a people, to start focusing on how they spend our money, not just how much they collect but how they spend it and that is why we need to champion and fight for a Public Accounts Committee hearing to be held in public because the people need to know how we are spending their money.