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The Barrow Administration’s 2017-2018 draft Budget presented on Monday of this week will go under heavy scrutiny by the Opposition People’s United Party on Thursday March 23rd and Friday March 24th when the House meets once more for its annual budget debate.


Opposition leader Hon. John Briceno has done a review of the Prime Minister’s budget speech, questioning his sincerity about the numbers presented for the next fiscal year. Briceno has called the budget a bogus budget and today he repeated that the PM’s numbers just don’t make sense.


Screen_Shot_2017-03-16_at_7.54.10_PMHonourable John Briceno- Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party


“We say that because obviously they just threw a lot of numbers in there just to try to prop up the budget and the Prime Minister from all indication don’t care because he is not going to be around all indications are that he is going to be retiring soon so it is going to be somebody else’s problems we are very concern that we don’t see very much investments in education, we don’t see any investment in the productive sector, we see no investment for us in the north, we see no investment for the roll out for the National Health Insurance and these are issues that have direct impact in the lives of our people specially here in the north so we are very concern; there are more taxes, there is this 1% increase in environmental tax and tax on building materials all of that is going to have a negative impact on the economy and also on Belizeans and it is going to create even more hard time for us.”


The proposed Budget has a cocktail of tax measures which the Prime Minister has said is necessary to plug their budget deficit and meet the projected 3% primary surplus. While the tax increases are not on General Sales Tax which would have directly affected consumers, some of the new measures will drive up the cost of living in Belize. Briceno said the Government won’t get things right until they learn to respect and take advice.


Honourable John Briceno- Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party


“They are going to tax the middle class like 88 million dollars more that is because we already over taxing Belizeans with the fuel where more than fifty cents on the dollars goes to taxes when you buy fuel but when you look at the issue of the primary balance we have not had a 2% primary balance for the past five years now all of a sudden they are going to have a 2% primary balance just from last year to this that is going to be a turnaround of 211 million dollars where is that money going to come from, we’ve had deficits from 2008 when the government took over and all of a sudden now we are going to turn it around and we are going to have a surplus of about 6 million dollars, that’s a turnaround of 167 million dollars in an economy that is in recession it just can’t happen, it just cannot add up and we are going to expose the UDP government that they have presented a Bogus Budget to the Belizean people.”

 

Reporter


“One of the things that the PM says is that oh that it’s the Central Bank saying that and it is the financial secretary coming up with these numbers, is he passing the buck?”


Honourable John Briceno- Leader of the Opposition People’s United Party


“The Prime Minister is very good at that he always or it is always somebody else’s fault, that somebody create the problem and he is trying to find a solution but until the Prime Minister is prepared to say you know what that he is a part of the problem and that he is prepare to see how he can sole it and that he should reach out to everybody, they have been trying it to do it their way and t have been a massive failure, Belizean are poorer today than they were in 2008 and unless he included everyone including us in the opposition it’s going to be more of the same, more corruption.”


The budget debate starts next week Thursday.

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