Covid-19 has brought on economic challenges not only on a national perspective but on households as well. In yesterday’s House Meeting the Government presented a Land Tax Bill that seeks to help the common man in getting an ease on their land taxes. The amendment to the Bill was introduced into the House of Representatives by Minister of Natural Resources, Hugo Patt, who explained how the Bill would work.
Hon. Hugo Patt, Representative for Corozal North: “COVID-19 has had some devastating impacts Madam Speaker and these impacts have had far reaching effect and those effects go beyond the mere spread of the virus and the measures that countries have taken to contain the virus. A UN report released indicated that this pandemic has caused probably the most impact on the economies and the actual impact has spread not only to governments but to societies and particularly to families and so each country has had to look at its own profile and find measures to mitigate the impact of the effects that this pandemic has had on its general populace. Part of the response Madam Speaker that we are taking is the provision of the relief of land tax to our populace. Initially we had received the request from the people from the banana sector asking for this relief and in realizing that there was such a request we brought it to Cabinet and we requested for the relief not only to be extended to the banana sector but we realized that the impact is expanded to the general populace so that we thought it prudent that in assisting the productive sector of this country it would be prudent as well for us to target as well the individual land owners. And so Madam Speaker what this bill seeks to do is merely to roll out a program, a one month program where the government will provide a relief on 25% of the land taxes owed by individual land owners and those in the productive sector as well as a complete waive of the interest and so this is the idea behind this bill and so as soon as we have had the opportunity to brainstorm all of the possibilities of making this a productive bill, a productive program we will invite the general populace to apply for this particular program.”
The Land Tax Bill still has two more readings before reaching the Senate for ratification.