Members of the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Better Business Bureau met with Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Carla Barnett and Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight. The meeting focused on government’s budget process for Fiscal Year 2017/2018. According to President of the BCCI, Nikita Usher, the consultation allowed the private sector to discuss and suggest to Government factors that must be considered when formalizing the upcoming budget.
“The chamber did a three pronged approach; we first took it from a position of “you need to look at your expenditures” any budget first has to look at the facts I mean if you are at home as an example if you are only earning $100 and your expenses are all the way up to $125 you have to find where you are going to cut $25 dollar from whether it’s from school lunch, going to the barber shop; I’m just using a simple example. Our example to the government has been that you have to look at your expenses and control those expenses and you start from there. The second prong that we looked at was enhancement of the revenues. Government track record seems to be progressing along the path that they had originally forecasted but there has to be more to meet those expenses even if you cut you have to have now an enhancement in terms of where else will you get revenues from; where else can it possibly come from and so the chamber took that approach as well and the third program that the we looked at is that while you are doing all that we cannot forget the golden rule and that is economic development. It is not the public sector that drives the economy it is really the private sector that drives it and so you cannot be doing all of this but at the same time not doing any economic growth and so you have to look at what are some of the stuff that stifles economic growth? Can we look at some of those, can we look at some additional ways of how we can improve economic growth or increase economic growth so those are the three areas that we’ve looked at and then we had ideas under each one of those.”
“Would you say that the business bureau was on the same level with the BCCI on these suggestions?”
“Well the business bureau did their own presentation frankly speaking we had some conversions of ideas there were some ideas that they had that were also on our paper, we had some distinct different ones from them but for the most part most of theirs were really also a part of what we would consider as well.”
“And these ideas were positively accepted by the GOB reps?”
“I would want to think that it went across quite well however we normally say that the proof is in the eating so until the government has come back to us and say what they would want to adopt or what they can adopt immediately, what could be a medium approach or a long term approach then that is going to be where we start the discussion from. Certainly one has to understand that what we are trying to get across to the government is that if we look at these measures in the initial stage and in six months’ time we can come back to the table and see if there is any need for any other measures then we can look at it again but we feel personally from the Chamber’s stand point that the ideas we have floated should be able to give a comfortable and of course government has some of their own I think when you converge all of them together you should get something meaningful but until we get those numbers it is difficult to say whether or not we are satisfied.”
Government meets with the unions tomorrow.