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Opposition Leader says economy not growing

PUP Leader John Briceno says the economy is not getting any better. During Briceno’s press briefing yesterday, it was pointed out that export remains significantly low when compared to imports. The country’s trade deficit continues to grow, said Briceno. He added that the cost of living has increased significantly that is negatively affected the purchasing ability of the public. This increase, Briceno says, is attributed to the high prices of fuel and in particular GOB’s taxes on fuel. The Opposition leader called on the Government to reduce the fuel taxes.

John Briceno, Opposition Leader: “On diesel alone, which is of vital importance to the productive sector, government is collecting $4.32 cents of the $10.63 cents per gallon. That amounts to more than 40% of the cost of fuel going to government by way of taxes or .40 cents out of every dollar we spend at the pump is going straight to government for taxes. Government can and should immediately reduce the tax on all fuel. How can our productive sector grow when an important cost of production, fuel, continues to rise ? How can our tour guides and taxi operators make headway when they have to pay more and more everyday at the pump? It is a shame that the government puts so much burden on the Belizean people when everyday there are new allegations of waste, abuse and corruption by this UDP government. As if this is not enough the recent increase in butane just after elections from $104 to $114 per hundred pound cylinder and the 7.1% rise in electricity rates which will come July 1st will add more financial pain on already suffering Belizeans. It may soon come to a point where Belizeans will be forced to take more drastic action as it relates to the rising cost of living because the rising cost of goods and services has in effect eroded people’s ability to purchase. Plain and simple what you could buy with $50 a few years ago you simply can’t buy today.”

The Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) has also called on the government to review and reshape its fuel tax strategy and reduce excise duties.