Last week, stakeholders in the agro-productive sector successfully lobbied against a proposal for 12.5% general sales tax to be charged on land preparation for agriculture, harvesting, and crop dusting services by taking their concerns directly to the Prime Minister.
On March Thursday March 22nd, following that same script, another group, this time in the cable and internet sector known as the Belize Cable Television Operators Association wrote Prime Minister Dean Barrow, requesting that the same consideration be taken with the Government’s plan to charge GST on data services
In their letter to Prime Minister, the Association explained that the 12.5% tax would [quote] “affect the most underprivileged in our society, the most remote residents and businesses in our country, the young entrepreneurs needing to communicate with the international market, students research and studies, farmers in remote areas connectivity and the family communications.
The Association also pointed out that the increase in the cost of IT services would negatively affect the business sector due to increases in the cost of communication, online banking, accessing online degrees and training, and the cost of doing business in Belize.
The letter ends stating [quote] “the cable industry has made great strides in trying to lower the cost of internet to our subscribers and this tax on data completely wipes out the benefits to our consumers. We ask again that you reconsider and zero rate the home internet now provided to consumers. ” [end quote].
The Government proposed the tax increase as part of the new revenue generation initiatives in the face of a widening deficit which is forecasted to be $118 million in the new fiscal year.
Whether the appeal has had any effect is not known yet, but we do note that on Friday UDP representative for Pickstock stood up to explain why taxation is necessary.
Honorable Sedi Elrington – Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Taxation is absolutely necessary in any society, it is from the taxes that government gets that he pays for all the services he provides and government happens to be the largest employer and because it is the largest employer in our country it has to have the taxes in which to pay the salaries the 15th and ending of the month, we have to pay the teachers, we have to pay the policemen, we have to pay the nurses, we have to pay the doctors, he has to buy the supplies that are needed in the hospitals, in the institutions, in the military so that taxation is a natural incident of life and yes there are times when the cause of influx of other resources the government is able to reduce taxes it does that but there are times when things different and the earnings of government is stretched government is oblige to increase taxes and that is done all over the world.”