Former Minister Tracy Panton discusses investments in bus industry
Speaking of investments, in our interview with former Minister of State, Tracy Taegar-Panton, we asked her to weigh in on the saga involving the bus industry. The Belize Bus Association has said on several occasions that the issues they have raised with the Government of Belize pre-dates 2020 when the PUP became the government. The association has long called for assistance to create spaces for and to protect investments made by traditional operators. As the former chair of Cabinet’s investment committee, we asked Panton about ways the committee addressed the issues the BBA is now raising. Here’s what she had to say.
Tracy Panton, Area Representative, Albert Division: “Under the work of BELTRAIDE and the Ministry of Investment we embarked on a very comprehensive consultation process in all sectors that helped to inform the investment strategy and policy plan that is now what’s being implemented in terms of the revisiting of the incentives act for the country. Because incentives were geared towards larger investments mostly foreign direct investments and there was a critical need indeed for us to look at how we support local investments and particularly investments for micro, medium and small enterprises. So that work had begun, the consultations had begun there was a clear indication that yes while we could not control access to affordable capital directly there was certainly an opportunity for government to provide some incentives for these sectors to grow and improve their standards and that kind of thing. That is now being addressed under this administration with the updated incentives act that was recently passed at the last House meeting.”
The UDP, the parliamentary opposition, has indicated that it supports the BBA in its quest to get some of these issues resolved. In our discussion with Panton, she agrees that while there must be upgrades to the current system, bus owners must be provided with every opportunity to undertake those necessary improvements to their services.