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Chamber of Commerce asks “Is economic growth really a priority for GOB?”

Business Senator Mark Lizarraga

Posted: Thursday, April 6, 2017. 1:14 pm CST.

hment_24537" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Business Senator Mark Lizarraga[/caption]

By BBN Staff: This afternoon, the Belize Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a press release regarding the $1 million dollar honorarium that the government of Belize will use to compensate teachers that did not strike in October 2016.

The Chamber of Commerce says that it is irresponsible of the government to now spend $1 million of taxpayers’ money -unbudgeted- to give an honorarium to teachers simply because they did not strike.

According to the release, our national debt stands at $3.3 billion, or 90% of GDP, and amounts to each Belizean, no matter what age or income level, owing $8,819.37.

The release goes on to say that a properly pro-poor government must utilize taxpayer’s money to ensure that every Belizean citizen has the opportunity to get a job or to create a business with which to support his or her family.

“A properly pro-poor government will recognize the burden that taxpayers face today in supporting an expensive public sector.  A properly pro-poor government will do its best to work to recognize efficient, productive public servants, while visibly arresting the corruption in both the public and private sectors for which taxpayers must then shoulder the burden on behalf of those who avoid it entirely. A properly pro-poor government would turn away from the current unsustainable path of ever-increasing debt and begin to enable our innovative, productive citizens to invest in themselves and in our economy,” the Chamber of Commerce laments in the release.

The Chamber also said that Belize requires of its government an authentic and visionary approach to meaningful economic growth and public sector cost cutting, especially with the recent commitment made to bond holders.

“We have yet to hear the Government’s plans for these, and we therefore strongly recommend that this windfall $1 million and any other sums the government finds it has to spare be devoted to these activities if they are serious about alleviating poverty.”

The release ends by saying that Belize will continue the spiral into ever-deeper debt until unpalatable and destructive austerity measures can no longer be avoided if government continues to spend public funds recklessly.


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