Prime Minister announces limited tax measures in Budget
Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that the Government has listened to the views of the private sector and the trade unions through budget consultations that Ministries and Departments must aggressively curtail costs before seeking additional revenue collections. Cabinet has ordered a freeze of expenditure in the current fiscal year for non-essential goods and services and plans to "intensify" its campaign to trim expenditure fat, as the short-term freeze in the last year did not completely reduce actual expenditure.
The Minister of Finance confirmed that statutory boards are hereafter required to contribute 10 percent of their 2017/18 income to the Consolidated Fund. If the expenses of these quasi government entities cannot be as vigorously policed as Ministries and Departments, then the next best alternative is to reduce their income flows. A bill to that effect will be introduced later in today's House meeting.
The following are the other related tax measures as outlined by Prime Minister Barrow:
- Adjust the excise levy on aerated water, beer and stout, cement and fuel to generate 0.77 percent of GDP
- Amend the departure fee for non-Belizeans to $40 to yield 0.30 percent of GDP “ Bouncing Back – A Bold Belizean Recovery “ 16
- Bump the environmental charge on imported goods by 1 percent producing 0.41 percent of GDP
- Shift the social fee on Free Zone cigarettes to 20 percent, generating 0.29 percent of GDP
- Lower the tax threshold for electricity consumption from $200 to $100 yielding 0.19 percent of GDP
- Amend by 50 basis points the stamp duty on foreign exchange permits to yield 0.22 percent of GDP
Taken together, supplementary revenues will increase by 2.2 percent of GDP which, when combined with our cost containment efforts, will produce an overall adjustment of over 3 percent of GDP for FY 2017/18.