Government Commits to Regular Meetings with Belize Chamber of Commerce
The government has recommitted to meeting regularly with the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). The affirmation came from Prime Minister John Briceno at a recent engagement with the chamber in September. The PM and senior members of his team met with the chamber’s Executive Council to discuss issues affecting the business community and projects being implemented by GOB. BCCI President Marcelo Blake explained that the meeting was fruitful and resulted in positive commitments.
Marcelo Blake, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “I think we’re all on the same page both the government and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We are both focused on economic vitality and, of course, the quality of life for Belize and Belizeans. And if you reference our mission statement you’ll be able to see that in fact it is stated there, right? Part of the conversations stem in many different areas. We had at least six major points that we wanted to ensure were discussed. So if I could start with some of the lighter ones. So campaign finance, of course, we discussed the campaign finance legislation and or I should say the draft for feedback there from the government. And so we’ve actually, while we have submitted that document to the Good Governance Unit before, we’ve actually provided the Prime Minister with a copy of the document for his review and digestion by himself and his cabinet. We’ve also looked at ways in which we could collaborate on some of the initiatives that we do believe benefit our members and the business community. So we’ve been looking at how we can partner, coordinate, collaborate with the Bar Association on an education campaign to get more of the businesses to be registered. As you know, the change to digitization with the company’s registry was done earlier this year and so it’s important that we ensure that as many of our businesses are actually being placed onto that new register. All right. So that’s one. And then the other one was to look at how we could also collaborate with BELTRAIDE on the fiscal incentive and the promotion of that, particularly for the micro, small and medium. enterprises who would be able to take advantage of the fiscal incentive act and all that has to offer.”
Blake further explained that the chamber also requested a copy of the final draft of the Trade Licensing Bill, which has been finalized and is being prepared for tabling in the House of Representatives.
Marcelo Blake, President, Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry: “We’ve been a part of that conversation for many, many years. And so we’re awaiting that final document for us to be able to take a final look on what has been drafted in that bill. And then the other two items that we discussed included the front of packaging nutritional label and the impacts that those will have if it’s implemented or how it’s implemented, the impacts it will have on the business community, both import and exporters will be impacted by those changes if they’re in fact passed and how those communities look at addressing or adopting where it has to the details of what comes out of the CARICOM Secretariat once I guess we have a uniform decision for the bloc. And then of course the most I guess recent being the price control and the list and so we discussed at length, you know, the impacts and where that could be reviewed and revised and so we’ve been able to submit to the relevant ministry what we consider to be a shorter, more workable list. And so the dialogue continues on that to be able to come to some kind of, I guess, agreement as to what that list looks like and how it, I guess, will impact businesses and the consumers alike from the private sector, including the Belize Chinese Association along with the chamber and other private sector members to be able to then hopefully get the best outcome for the impacts that will be faced by businesses, but also to ensure that those who are impacted from the consumer standpoint will be getting the relief that they need.”
The chamber meets with the PM’s team for another meeting in November.