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Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry Says the Constant Change in SI’s Is Bad for Business

While there are millions of dollars in tax arrears owed to the government the private sector businesses are going through their own struggles. Over the past 18 months, businesses have had to lay off dozens of employees in an effort to cut expenses. In speaking with Dyon Elliott of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) some of the current challenges for the private sector is the constant changing of the Statutory Instruments.

Dyon Elliott, Chief Policy Analyst, BCCI: “During COVID times one of the things our members talk about that is the unpredictability of the regulations. You find that you have a regulation that says X,Y,Z and then the following week or some next month you have a different regulation that says something completely different or notably different and when you’re dealing with business people certainty is an important thing. So if you’re not sure what the regulation will be at any given time that does have an impact on what you can do in your business sector. And again I can say this because some representatives from the business processing outsourcing the BPO sector for example had spoken recently to the media on this topic. We saw a recent change to the COVID regulations and that recent change now even with fully vaccinated staff how many persons can actually be in the physical premises for the BPOs. Now you talk long enough to the representatives from this industry and they will tell you that that has implications on investment, implication on whether or not they can maintain their contracts with their clients and again I have to hasten to say nobody in the private sector is saying that we are not serious about the mitigating measures, about COVID, we take it seriously that’s part of the reason why you have almost 70% of our members saying that they do provide some incentive for their people to be vaccinated, their employees to be vaccinated. We take it seriously it’s just there needs to be more structure in how we go about adjusting these regulations with the mind of saying we try to do our best to keep business operational and some level of predictability. The other concern would be the speed of the tests. Too many times we have employers saying that their employees when there’s a suspicion of exposure they do the test and sometimes – unless they go completely private which is a higher cost – the turnaround time for the test takes too long and that itself carries a cost but I’ll pause there.”